SANTA ROSA -- Sutter Health today said construction at the site of its  new $284 million hospital just north of Santa Rosa will enter a second phase this month and on-site road work will begin in May.

Currently, the construction site, located on Mark West Springs Road next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, is being "surcharged." That means a massive mound dirt is compressing the ground to help make it seismically safe.

A second phase of surcharging will begin this month, with the 10-foot pile of soil moving east to compress another section of the foundation. Sutter said the entire grounds should fully compressed by August, which will clear the way for foundation work.

The hospital is scheduled to be complete in 2014.

"This is a very exciting time for your community," said Mike Purvis, chief administrative officer for Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa.

Residents will see actual structural steel framing for the hospital arise in early January 2012.

The Sacramento-based health chain estimates construction will add 1,500 local jobs.

Sutter said it is putting more than $6 million toward roadway improvements.

In May, all utilities -- such as electrical and telephone lines -- will be moved underground. A new signal will be installed at the main entrance on Mark West Springs Road and a new bus stop will be constructed on the north side of the road.

The northbound offramp from Highway 101 also will be widened to include two right-hand turn lanes. Sutter said that will ease traffic during crowded events at the Wells Fargo Center. Other landscaping measures will be done as well.

More information is available at