New hospital construction pushes for early completion

May 15, 2013, 11:25 p.m.

Two weeks after University and community leaders broke ground on the new Stanford Hospital, the man in charge of the project’s construction says that the effort is “going A-okay.”

Four-plus more years of building are projected for Stanford Hospital, but Clinics’ Vice President of Construction Bert Hurlbut noted that– while the hospital is expected to begin serving patients in late 2017 or early 2018– he and the construction team are going to “push hard to get it done early.”

Courtesy of Sarah Staley
Courtesy of Sarah Staley

The new Stanford Hospital facility, part of the $5-billion Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project, will add 824,000 square feet and 368 patient beds to the current hospital, which was built in 1959. The existing hospital will be connected to the new building by both a bridge and a tunnel.

The hospital construction is one of several initiatives currently in progress under the umbrella of the Renewal Project, which “will rebuild and modernize the facilities that are the foundation of our community’s healthcare services,” according to the project’s website.

The expansion of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, renovations of Hoover Pavilion and the construction of new buildings for the School of Medicine are also included in the project.

Hurlbut said that one motivation for the new hospital’s construction is that the current facility does not meet seismic standards for in-patient care. The new structure will be built on base isolators, large underground devices that will allow the facility to move up to six feet to prevent damage during a major earthquake.

“[It’s] seismically safe because these base isolators can move so much,” Hurlbut said. “It precludes a lot of the energy from getting into the building and destroying things.”

According to Lloyd Minor, dean of the School of Medicine, technologies in the new hospital will also allow the facility to continue providing care even if a major earthquake occurs.

Hurlbut said that the demolition of the previous structure at 1101 Welch Road, where the new hospital will be located, has already been completed. The construction team is currently focused on a massive excavation that will take about 200,000 cubic yards of soil out of the ground.

According to Hurlbut, the current schedule states that the team is supposed to start setting structural steel in late-summer 2014. He added, however, that he will work to expedite that process by up to two months.

“It’s tough to look at the schedule each day and determine if you are on-schedule or behind or ahead,” Hurlbut said, explaining that his team instead focuses on milestones like the structural steel date. “[The master schedule] that we have established right now says we do a lot of things between now and the end of construction, but we do them on time.”

External construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016, and the interior is expected to be finished by 2017 in time for the hospital to open for patients. Hurlbut said that he believes the scope of the structure will surprise many people.

“The existing hospital– which is three stories [high]– is going to come partway up the [new] building and then all the patient rooms will be above that,” Hurlbut said. “It’s going to be a big building– everybody’s going to see this hospital from miles away.”

Minor said that the new facility will be built “from the patient’s point of view,” referencing the layout of patient rooms, the inclusion of a garden in the center of the facility and the decision to put all procedure spaces on one level.

“It’s really designed to create a patient experience that promotes healing, promotes wellness and promotes communication,” Minor said.

According to Minor, this focus on patients will allow both the hospital and the medical school to continue providing top-quality service, with a mission of bringing “the very best of science [and] technology to the benefit of all of our patients.”

“This hospital will give us the world-class facility to match our world-class faculty and world-class students, residents, fellows and other people associated with the delivery of outstanding patient care,” Minor said.

Jana Persky is the president and editor in chief of Volume 246 of The Stanford Daily. She previously worked as a sports desk editor, news desk editor and managing editor of staff development at The Daily, and is majoring in Public Policy. Jana is a junior from New Canaan, Connecticut, who doesn't want to tell her mom and dad she likes the West Coast better. To contact her, please email [email protected].

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