In the next 12 to 18 months, the North Bay will see significant hospital and health care construction, with at least half a dozen major projects entering key phases or reaching completion.

Chief among such projects is the new $284 million hospital being constructed just north of Santa Rosa by Sutter Health, which will enter the near-finishing stages for its planned opening in 2014.  

The new hospital will replace Sutter's current facility on Chanate Road, which has been deemed seismically unfit, a theme affecting a number of other sizable North Bay projects in Marin and Sonoma counties, including Sonoma Valley Hospital's $39 million upgrade, Queen of the Valley's $122 million project and Marin General Hospital's plans to complete a $500 million rebuild of its 235-bed facility.

[caption id="attachment_34895" align="alignright" width="346"] An artist’s rendering of the new Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa under construction near the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.[/caption]

While the latter project is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2020, the Marin Healthcare District, which owns the facility, hopes to have a $250 million general obligation bond on the November 2013 ballot that would cover most of the construction costs. The remaining costs of the project would be covered by general obligation bonds and a capital campaign.

In Napa, St. Joseph Health-owned Queen of the Valley expects to complete a $122 million seismic upgrade that includes a 72,000 square-foot, three-story acute-care center scheduled for completion in June 2013. It could begin seeing patients as soon as July or August pending approval by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

The new wing, named the Herman Family Pavilion, will have six suites for operations, 16 pre- and post-operation bays, 20 private intensive care rooms and a clinical and pathology laboratory that can add space as needed.

Queen of the Valley said it will be among the first hospitals in California to receive the third-highest level of certification, or “gold,” under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) rating system for “green” health care facilities.

"It's on time and slightly under budget," hospital spokeswoman Vanessa DeGier said.

Additionally, St. Joseph Health-owned Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital resumed a $15 million upgrade to its emergency department that will be completed in 2014, and the health system is actively scouting locations to develop a medical fitness center similar to its Synergy Medical Fitness Center in Napa.

A building across from the hospital that formerly housed palliative and skilled nursing units is one such prospective location, although it would need a significant amount of construction to be comparable to the Napa location, adjacent to Queen of the Valley.

Santa Rosa Memorial's emergency department upgrade includes 26 private patient rooms, which will enable the hospital to treat more critically ill and injured patients while more quickly triaging and caring for patients with less severe conditions.

Other features include the increased number of patient treatment beds, from 19 to 26, upgraded patient bays to larger, private rooms, an enlarged waiting area with seating for 60 people and a larger reception area in the county's busiest ER, and two nursing station and two physician charting rooms.

Yet another project underway is the $20 million upgrade at St. Helena Hospital Napa Valley, which just recently entered in key phase and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2014. That project consists of improvements to the hospital's orthopedics unit, mental health unit, medical-surgery unit, family birthing unit, the 12-bed intensive care unit and the post critical care.

And finally, the long-awaited opening of a 93-bed psychiatric hospital, Aurora Behavioral Healthcare Santa Rosa, is expected by March 2013, three years after Corona-based Signature Healthcare Services purchased the 52,000 square-foot facility.

The new hospital will replace an inpatient psych hospital formerly operated by St. Joseph Health System that closed in 2008, which created a void of mental health providers in Sonoma County.

Sutter's forthcoming hospital at Mark West Spring Road and Highway 101 will see several important milestones in the next year, including work on the central utility plant, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and off-site work related to the exit ramp off of the highway. Additional work will occur on the hospital's water treatment facility, including the instillation of underground storage tanks.

It's on time and on budget, according to Lisa Amador, a spokeswoman for Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa.

At the 83-bed Sonoma Valley Hospital, the $39 million project will upgrade the emergency department as part of a 16,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the west wing of the existing hospital. Construction is expected be completed by summer of 2013 and it, too, is one time and on budget, Bill Boerum, chair of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District said recently.

A new, 8,000 square-foot emergency department with nine beds, a trauma room, a triage room, isolation rooms and a consultation room will be housed on the first floor.  An 8,000 square-foot Operating Suite will be on the second floor.

If and when Marin General gets its bond passed by Marin voters, construction there could begin by 2015 on what will be one of the biggest construction projects in the region.  Plans call for a campus totaling over 660,000 square feet, including a new 300,000-square-foot hospital with two wings that will replace the existing structure. It would also include a 100,000-square-foot ambulatory services building and two parking structures with 919 spaces.