Hospital prepares for long-awaited renovation

Sequoia Hospital's summer groundbreaking may not seem imminent to some, but to doctors and staff who have waited for the hospital’s renovations since 1989, it’s just around the corner.

Redwood City planners are putting the finishing touches on a new environmental document studying the potential effects of Sequoia’s planned renovations, which include a brand-new medical office building and seismic retrofitting. The study, due out in mid-February, will kick off the final approvals needed to get the multi-year project underway, according to Maureen Riordan, a Redwood City planner.

A first round of public hearings with the city’s Planning Commission led to a major redesign of the site to create a less confusing entryway. The changes delayed its completion more than a year while costs rose from an estimated $130 million in early 2006 to $240 million today.

“I think that all of the slippages that would have occurred have already occurred,” Riordan said, anticipating that the finalization of the project’s environmental review and precise plan this spring would go smoothly. “They redid their site plan, and now it’s much improved and very intuitive for patients to get around.”

Earlier this month, staff at the hospital began prepping for the renovations, moving the five-ton MRI machine from its home on the front driveway to the ground floor of the main hospital. A new parking garage will undergo construction this summer, followed by the addition of hospital space in fall 2008 and a retrofit of the existing hospital in fall 2009.

Many Sequoia-affiliated doctors are looking forward to having offices on the campus, according to plastic surgeon Michael Papalian, head of Sequoia’s physician staff. “Bringing more of the physicians on campus will make life easier for patients,” Papalian said.

E-mail Beth Winegarner at

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