Lobby of the new San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

SFGH prepares to open new $1 billion trauma center

Staff members this week were putting final touches on the new $1 billion Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center that’s set to open to patients next spring.

The hospital, which expands care in numerous areas including to triple the number of emergency beds from 27 to 58, brings to fruition a nearly decade-long effort to replace the aging trauma center located at the same 24-acre campus at 1001 Potrero Ave.

“This hospital will serve at least the next 50 years or more as the place that any San Franciscan can come and get the care that they need,” Roland Pickens, the hospital’s interim CEO, said at a media tour of the new site Tuesday.

The nine-story building, featuring glass walls and a curved exterior that eliminates the need for sharp and potentially dangerous corners inside, features works of local art selected by patients and staff; built-in decontamination showers; an additional two trauma rooms and three more operating rooms than the current hospital.

Named for Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, who gifted $75 million to the hospital, the hospital also expands upon its Acute Care for Elders unit and pediatric care and birthing center.

There is also a rooftop garden that provides outdoor access for staff, patients and their family members with sweeping views of iconic San Francisco landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid.   

With a 62 percent probability that a magnitude-6.7 earthquake or greater will hit the Bay Area a by 2032, the facility – located about 6 miles from the San Andreas fault – is designed to withstand up to an 8.0-magnitude temblor, according to hospital officials.

A base-isolated foundation, the most earthquake-resistant design known today, allows the hospital to sit in a bathtub-type foundation rather than directly in the ground. Rolling disks between the building and foundation will allow it to glide 30 inches in any direction during an earthquake.

Hospital officials plan to retrofit the current hospital and other existing structures on campus through reinforcement of structural members and fiber wrapping after the new hospital opens, and will potentially seek funding for such projects through a bond next year.

San Francisco voters approved an $887 million bond in 2008 to help finance much of the new hospital. A ribbon-cutting to dedicate the site will be held Saturday.

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