By LANCE ARMSTRONG, Valley Community Newspapers writer
Just west of East Sacramento and across L Street from Sutter General Hospital is an under construction building that is drawing much attention for its size alone. After all, the partially completed structure is shaping up to be midtown Sacramento’s tallest building.
Standing about 194 feet tall, the 10-story, 395,241-square-foot structure in its completed state will become known as the Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center and replace Sutter Memorial Hospital at 5151 F St. in East Sacramento.
In addition to its function as a maternity hospital, Sutter Memorial, which is often referred to as the “baby hospital,” presently houses cardiac care services. But Sutter Memorial is considered an aging campus that does not meet today’s needs from a health care consumer or medical technology prospective.
The new, 242-bed facility will provide the highest level of neonatal and pediatric intensive care services, pediatric cardiac care, pediatric neurosurgery services, pediatric cancer services and high-risk and conventional maternity services.
Another major aspect of opening the new facility is the fact that medical staff and hospital management will no longer have to travel back and forth between Sutter’s two Sacramento campuses.
Although it was once contemplated that the new Sutter center would be located on the Sutter Memorial campus, Gary Zavoral, public relations specialist for Sutter Health, Sacramento Sierra Region, said that the selection of the Sutter General site seems to make the most sense in a historical perspective.
“This is where Sutter Hospital started (in 1923), so it kind of made sense that they would go ahead and put this new midtown expansion right here where it all began,” Zavoral said.
Larry Maas, the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento assistant administrator who oversees the expansion project, described the magnitude of the move from Sutter Memorial to the Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center as advancing “light years ahead.”
“Bringing the two campuses together has tremendous clinical advantages in terms of efficiency and our ability to take care of our patients,” Maas said. “This has been a long, long time in the process. I’ve been working on this over a decade.”
The construction of this building is the major part of the $724 million Sutter Medical Center campus project, which also includes the renovation of Sutter General Hospital and the construction of the Sutter Capitol Pavilion outpatient center, which was completed in August 2010.
Another recent Sutter project was the Sutter Community Garage, which includes 324,000 square feet of garage space and 9,000 square feet of retail. The 28th and N streets garage, which is available for hospital and public use, opened on Feb. 14, 2008.
During an interview with this publication on Oct. 13 – the anniversary marking three years since ground was broken for the women’s and children’s center – Tom McDearmid, the site supervisor for Boldt Construction, the general contractor for the new building, said that he was very impressed with the overall work and progress of the project.
“The whole mix of our team partnership out here has been working well together, and you can see that by the progress that we’re making,” McDearmid said. “It’s been a whole continuity of the design, the build and the owner. A year ago, we had a hole in the ground, so the progress has been unbelievable. And with no loss time injury on a site like this, with all this metal and steel and the height (of the building) is incredible. It’s unheard of, actually.”
Sutter’s ability to work with the neighboring business community has also proven to be a successful element of the project.
Kathy Dunlap, the chief operations officer of the Radiation Oncology Division of the Radiological Associates of Sacramento within the Sutter Cancer Center at 2800 L St., said that much coordination occurred between the radiation oncology center and the Sutter Medical Center in regard to the project.
“They’re actually building the hospital on top of our radiation oncology center,” Dunlap said. “We’re literally in what is called the basement of the Sutter Cancer Center, and so they literally had to build on top of us. That required the reinforcement of columns and doing all kinds of stuff. It’s taking a lot of work and coordination with Sutter to make sure that our services to patients were not disrupted. So, we’ve been working with Sutter for many years in order to get through a successful project. I think (the new building) is great for the community. This has been a vision for Sutter for a long time and I think for the whole campus that they’ve been working on. We treat Sutter’s patients for radiation oncology, so we have a very strong relationship with Sutter for the cancer center, so everything that they’re doing there is a good thing.”
Although actual work on the women’s and children’s center site recently reached its third year, the construction of the building is not scheduled to be completed until June 2013. However, about five months will be necessary following this time to gradually move into the facility, orient and train staff and move patients.
Progress on the building currently continues at a steady pace, as workers are diligently making strides toward completing the structure.
The new hospital building began receiving some of its glass windows during the week of Sept. 26.
The next step for the building is to complete its exterior “skin,” with the preliminary plan to have the first four floors of the structure fully enclosed by mid-November. This work will continue on the other floors, which are scheduled to be completed in this manner by sometime in January.
Once the building is enclosed, workers can begin the process of building walls and undergoing the finish work on the structure’s interior.
The new building will be connected to the present Sutter General Hospital via a three-story spanning structure.
And the bridging of these two buildings will also represent their recognition as one hospital.
Furthermore, the old Sutter General Hospital building will become known as the Ose Adams Medical Pavilion and will include 257 beds. And both buildings will jointly be a part of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.
Maas said that Sutter’s new, centralized hospital campus will mark a major advancement in health care services in the capital area.
“The new Sutter Medical Center will be a tremendous asset to the community in that we will have really the very best in health care on the campus, both from a technological perspective and from a facility that meets the needs of a health care consumer going forward,” Maas said. “As an example, private rooms that have family spaces in them, so that mom, dad can spend the night with the child that’s in the hospital or (another) loved one. Really, we will bring to Sacramento the first pediatric emergency department and a facility that is technologically state of the art.”