Costs to rebuild Medical Center skyrocket

Hospital execs list things to cut out as bill rises; helipad endangered, Voters might end up with less hospital than they expected when Peninsula Medical Center is rebuilt if construction costs continue to climb past the project’s $488 million budget, Mills-Peninsula Health Services officials said Tuesday.

Hospital higher-ups on Tuesday unveiled a list of potential cuts that could be made should the project costs continue to climb. The list of expendable items for the planned 450,000-square-foot new hospital includes a helipad, fountain, several conference rooms, three of the 10 operating rooms, exterior benches and a fitness center. Planning and Marketing Vice President Margie O’Clair said the list includes amenities, not essential acute-care facilities and programs.

The project, which officials hope to get under way by October, requires voter approval because it is being built on public land owned by the Peninsula Health Care District and leased to the Mills-Peninsula, a Sutter Health affiliate.

In order to start on time, a special August mail-in ballot needs to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors by June 2, said Carole Groom, Mills-Peninsula’s vice president of community relations.

“The sooner we start construction, the better we can control costs,” Groom said.

Mills-Peninsula plans to build a state-of-the-art hospital to replace the Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, which doesn’t meet state seismic regulations for acute-care hospitals that take effect by 2013. MPHS CEO Robert Merwin said the project should be finished in mid-2010. Construction is already under way for the new, 810-car parking structure at the corner of El Camino Real and Trousdale Drive.

Fourteen contractors and sub-contractors for major items, like steel, exterior glass, plumbing, electrical wiring and mechanical work, have already been secured, Merwin said.

Supervisor Jerry Hill said hewasn’t sure how the board was leaning on the project, but noted that plenty of residents are anxious to see a new hospital constructed as soon as possible.

Hill said he wanted to further examine the hospital’s list of potential cuts before making any firm statements about putting the project on the ballot.

“I want to make sure the public has an opportunity to review all the documents so everyone can discuss what’s on the table,” Hill said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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