Aging Sequoia Hospital unveils plan to renovate facilities

At 57, Sequoia Hospital nearly qualifies as one of the increasing number of seniors it hopes to serve with expanded and renovated facilities.

The facility plans to shore up its existing 343,000-square-foot hospital and add a new 148,000-square-foot pavilion and four-story parking garage, according to planner Maureen Riordan.

In a later step, the campus’ skilled-nursing facility would be demolished to make room for a new medical office building. The hospital retrofit was initiated to meet state law requiring all hospitals to undergo seismic retrofits by 2013.

Planning Commissioner John Seybert on Tuesday urged his peers to “strongly recommend” the hospital plans to the City Council, which is scheduled to study the project July 23 and vote on the plans Aug. 27. The commission unanimously approved Sequoia Hospital’s environmental review in a separate action. The entire proposal is expected to cost approximately $240 million.

But as the hospital expands, traffic at three city intersections — Edgewood Road and Alameda de las Pulgas, Edgewood and Highway 280, and Whipple Road and El Camino Real — will worsen, according to Riordan.

“I’m terrified about the intersection of Whipple and Alameda,” said resident Brent Britschgi, referring to the location of the hospital. “Historically, there have been terrible wrecks there.”

While the hospital is located in the heart of a residential zone, neighbors have learned to coexist with the center — and will continue to do so, Seybert said.

“I think the greatest traffic impacts will happen during construction; it may be inconvenient for a while,” Seybert said.

Sequoia Hospital leaders have agreed to pay for two pavement projects on Alameda de las Pulgas to counteract the wear and tear caused by heavy trucks during construction, as well as a portion of a new turn lane at the Whipple-El Camino Real intersection, Riordan said.

If the City Council approves Sequoia’s plans in August, parking lot construction could break ground this fall. The hospital could be complete by 2011, and all seismic projects would be finished by 2012, according to spokeswoman Joanie Cavanaugh.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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