$176 million hospital would replace aging Chanate Road facility

SANTA ROSA –Having begun the environmental impact report process last January and with a unanimous resolution by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in July -- reaffirming Sutter Health’s 2008 business plan and its compliance with HCAA -- Sutter is moving ahead with plans to break ground for the new Sutter Medical Center at Mark West Springs Road off Highway 101 between Sept. and Oct. 1, 2010. If all goes as planned, this new hospital will be completed in 2013.

Breaking ground before the end of 2010 is crucial if Sutter Health is to be eligible for a two-year extension in order to be compliant with the state’s seismic requirements. The Department of Health Services will make a final recommendation to the board of supervisors on the business plan sometime during the summer of 2010.

“The first planning commission hearing to gain public comment on our draft EIR plan took place Dec. 10,” said Lisa Amador, administrative director for support services for Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. ‘The next public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14.  After comments are received, we will begin preparing for a final EIR. When this phase is completed, we will go back to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to initiate the entitlement process for public access and to start work at the site adjacent to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.”

According to Ms. Amador, many people in the greater community still think that Sutter is closing its hospital.  “We’re not closing, far from it.  We continue to serve local residents by providing excellent quality care at the Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa [the former Community Hospital site] as well as through a network of more than 25 Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation care centers in Sonoma County.  With other foundation organizational improvements on our drawing board for the new year, we will also be in a position to offer patients access to an increased variety of specialty services not currently available locally in the West Bay region.”

The new $176 million Sutter Health hospital project to date has involved more than 14 contractors, vendors and consulting firms in planning for this new facility, including Blakeslee Electric, Brelje & Race, Aspinall & Associates, Concept Development Associates, CQA Inc., Gillotti Construction, Horticulture Associates, Illingsworth and Rodkin Inc., Mead & Hunt Inc., Peterson Mechanical Inc., PG&E, Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning, Sponamore Associates and Tom Origer & Associates.

As are most in health care, Sutter is closely watching the Washington, D.C., health care debate for its possible impacts locally.

“One possible wrinkle in our building plans is that national health care reform could affect our ability to construct the physician’s medical office building on this new campus.  The federal reform package, as currently written, could prohibit physician firms from being in a joint venture with a hospital. Either way, we are moving forward with plans to build a new Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa,” Ms. Amador said.

This new facility will be a LEED-registered project.