By Eric Althoff
SANTA ROSA, Calif.—After commencing on an expansion project last fall, the Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital has officially topped out its work at the healthcare complex in Northern California, which first opened in 2014.
At an event that was broadcast online on July 30—due to the necessity of social distancing measures—the facility’s ceremonial last structural steel beam was lowered into place. Prior to being set, the beam was signed by members of the construction crew, hospital staff and the hospital’s former CEO, Mike Purvis, who retired in January of this year.
Among the invited virtual guests were Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), whose district encompasses Sonoma County, which is the home of the Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital. Other invited guests included Susan Gorin, who serves as the chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, as well as representatives of general contractor HerreroBOLDT.
“This is no traditional ‘topping out,’” the hospital’s CEO, Dan Peterson, said at the start of the virtual ceremony. “We’re using technology to keep everyone safe, and we’re making history with one of the country’s first virtual topping-out celebrations.”
The $158 million expansion, which added nearly 70,000 square feet of medical use space at the medical facility, broke ground last November. Working with HerreroBOLDT is Stantec, who provided design and architectural services for the project.
Added Supervisor Gorin: “Sutter has been a vital partner to Sonoma County for almost three decades, and this expansion is the embodiment of its continued commitment to the community. This hospital will provide high-quality care to residents in a state-of-the-art, seismically safe and environmentally conscious setting.”
The construction workers at HerreroBOLDT were subjected to extra precautionary measures in the time of covid-19, including the requirement of wearing a mask and practicing social distancing on the jobsite. HerreroBOLDT said this ensured heading off a potential spread of infections; no cases were reported.
The three-story hospital addition adds 40 private patient rooms, 13 outpatient beds and 21 emergency department “bays.” The new space is expected to open for patients in the spring of 2022. A Phase II expansion to the hospital’s existing emergency department will follow, to be completed for the fall of 2022.
“Today healthcare is on all our minds as we face the continued threat of coronavirus pandemic. This facility will expand our ability to deliver quality care no matter the crisis we face—a pandemic, wildfires or earthquakes,” Congressman Thompson said in a statement timed for the event. “I can’t wait to celebrate, hopefully in person, when we cut the ribbon to open the space.”
Added Peterson, the hospital’s current CEO: “Today’s ceremony is a celebration of a momentous achievement for our hospital that will help us serve our patients and our community for generations to come.
“Everyone at Sutter Santa Rosa knows the hard work it’s taken to reach this milestone, and I want to offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our team, which has continually served this community with integrity and compassion.”