Marin voters approve hospital-rebuild bond

[caption id="attachment_23291" align="alignright" width="277"] Marin General Hospital[/caption]

GREENBRAE -- Marin County voters on Tuesday backed the planned rebuilding of Marin General Hospital, authorizing by a two-thirds majority $394 million in general obligation bonds to fund much of the project.

By the time polls closed, Measure F had approval from 67.4 percent of the mail-vote, according to the Marin County Registrar of Voters. That margin held as results were tallied through the night. The final tally had 68 percent of Marin residents, excluding Novato and parts of West Marin, supporting the measure, while nearly 32 percent were opposed. A total of 33,978 votes were cast.

The Marin Healthcare District, which oversees operations of the 235-bed hospital, spent considerable resources on getting the measure passed, reaching $800,000 on mailers, ads and outreach efforts. The $394 million bonds will help fund a $500 million reconstruction of the hospital, bringing it in line with state-mandated seismic safety standards.

A rebuild is needed also to help the facility -- the county’s largest hospital and only level 3 trauma center -- stay competitive and up to date with the best possible technologies, according to hospital and health care district officials.

Earlier this year, the health care district asked for and received an extension to 2030 of its seismic-upgrade deadline.

Measure F will amount to roughly $20 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, or about $12 a month per household.

Critics of the rebuild effort, chiefly the Marin United Tax Payer Association, argued the bond is not necessary because Marin General received a 10-year extension on its deadline for making the building safer during an earthquake.

Construction plans call for a campus totaling more than 660,000 square feet. That includes a new 300,000-square-foot hospital with two wings that would replace the existing structure. It would also include a 100,000-square-foot ambulatory-services building and two parking structures with 919 spaces. Construction could begin as early as 2015, district officials have said.

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