Three-hospital Community Medical Centers, Fresno, Calif., is planning a 30-year expansion at its 460-bed flagship campus that would cover 16 city blocks and cost up to $1 billion, as the system begins to consolidate services at its two Fresno locations. The healthcare system has begun acquiring land for the 1.9 million-square-foot redevelopment project at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno that would add some 400 beds, says Mark Mathieson, vice president of the expansion project. "(We're) building a city within a city," he says. In the first phase, the hospital has built a six-story, $91 million trauma center set to open this year. The 340,000-square-foot facility consolidates Level I trauma and burn units at the two Fresno campuses. The system determined that its second campus in Fresno, 334-bed University Medical Center, built some 40 years ago, was too costly for retrofitting to meet new seismic-safety codes. In January 2008, UMC, two miles from downtown Fresno, will no longer be able to operate acute-care beds as the state's new seismic standards take effect. According to hospital officials, UMC's fate will be in county hands when the healthcare system's lease agreement expires in 2008. Mathieson, however, says, "It doesn't make sense to shut down a licensed facility when there's a shortage of beds in the valley."
Idaho hospital expanding
* St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, Idaho, expects to break ground on a $161.2 million expansion and renovation project this fall. The new nine-story patient-care tower has capacity for 288 private beds and will add a couple dozen beds to the hospital's current 355 count, for a total of 405. Other additions are a 16-suite surgery center, a research center and conference rooms. St. Alphonsus opted against remodeling the existing 30-year-old facility, Shauna Williams, chief of staff, said in a news release, because the "necessary retrofits and additional requirements to meet today's standards-as well as modifications to plan for future needs-would have been cost-prohibitive." The hospital will finance the project through operations, debt and philanthropy. The new central tower is slated to open in April 2008.
Medical group to build hospital
* Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation, a multispecialty group practice, is planning to build its first acute-care hospital at a cost of $300 million. The 475,000-square-foot integrated medical campus-on an 18-acre site in San Carlos, Calif.-will include offices for 150 primary-care and specialty physicians. The campus is expected to open by 2010. The San Carlos center will have 110 inpatient beds, an emergency department, laboratory and radiology services, and specialty centers for heart treatment and cancer care. The site contains toxic waste that needs to be cleared before construction begins. The organization has filed for regulatory approval and expects to break ground within the next few years. Also in San Mateo County, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, part of 41-hospital Catholic Healthcare West; Kaiser Permanente Redwood City (Calif.) Medical Center; and Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame are building replacement facilities to comply with new seismic-safety laws.
N.Y. outpatient center planned
* Weill Medical College of Cornell Univer-sity in New York broke ground earlier this month on its new $230 million Ambulatory Care and Medical Education Building. The 300,000-square-foot facility will combine related medical services-teaching, research and clinical care-and serve as the flag- ship building for Cornell University in New York. The 13-story structure will house physician and clinical offices, radiology services, research facilities, a library and conference room and is scheduled to open sometime in 2006.