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Rady Children’s Hospital to Build $260M Patient Care Addition

Local hospitals are starting to feel the pressure of overcrowded waiting rooms, especially at health care facilities such as Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center, which reported more than 13,000 patients for fiscal year 2007.

Statistics from the San Diego Association of Governments show the number of children in San Diego County is expected to increase 8 percent during the decade beginning 2000.

About three years ago, administrators at the nonprofit hospital started talks about building a new Patient Care Pavilion that will help meet the needs of the San Diego and Imperial counties it serves.

On Dec. 5, the hospital is scheduled to break ground on a $260 million addition to its already sprawling campus in Kearny Mesa.

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Not only will the 279,000-square-foot patient care pavilion add more than 100 beds to the 248-bed pediatric care center, it will be one of the only LEED-certified health care facilities in San Diego County. The U.S. Green Building Council awards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications.

“It’s the largest project we’ve ever had,” said Tim Jacoby, senior director of facilities and planning and construction at Rady Children’s Hospital.

The hospital itself is one of 12 children’s hospitals in California, according to a listing by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is the most comprehensive hospital for the pediatric community of San Diego and Imperial counties it serves.


Completion Set For 2010

Both the pavilion and the parking structure are scheduled to be completed in July 2010 with the first patients receiving treatment the following fall.

For 2006, the hospital reported $379 million in total operating expenses and $274 in net patient revenue, according to the Business Journal’s list of hospitals. The same year, it reported that it treated 13,485 patients, according to Ben Metcalf, public information officer.

The facility, which will be located in the parking lot south of the Rose Pavilion, will be built by McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. of St. Louis. A new parking garage with a total of 1,039 spaces will also be constructed east of the pavilion, creating an additional 700 spaces once existing spaces have been demolished for the construction.

Construction costs are estimated at $179 million, or $641 per square foot, according to Jacoby.

The cost for LEED-certification may have added 1 percent to the total project cost, although Jacoby said he expects a return on investment within three years.

He added: “We thought it was the socially responsible thing to do.”

The architect is Anshen + Allen of San Francisco, which focuses on work in the health care, education and research sectors.

The new pavilion is designed to enhance its role among the pediatric surgical community with the construction of 16 additional operating rooms, all of which are at least 50 square feet larger than the current operating rooms.

For fiscal year 2007, hospital physicians conducted almost 20,000 surgeries, a number that is growing each year, according to Jacoby.

“Right now, we’re scheduling surgeries on Saturdays,” he said. “Some elective surgeries are rescheduled.”

Currently, Rady Children’s Hospital has 3,300 full- and part-time staff members, including more than 1,000 registered nurses and 634 physicians, according to Metcalf.


Hiring Planned

When the pavilion opens, Jacoby said that staff members will be added, although the new positions will be phased in over a period of time.

However, with the addition of 100 beds, the hospital plans to combine these 16 new rooms for a total of 24 operating rooms. It also is prepared to double the number of neonatal intensive care units to more than 60 beds.

In recent years, the hospital has added family- and visitor-friendly attributes such as on-campus showers, laundry facilities and free Web sites to keep friends and relatives updated on a child’s condition.

Each of the new facility’s 72 private patient rooms will be built with a fold-out sofa bed and Internet connection , the entire campus is working to become entirely wireless-compatible.

Because the new pavilion is needed mainly to prevent overcrowding because of growing patient numbers and needs, the majority of other buildings on the hospital campus will remain in use.

The only key exception is the convalescent center, which will move into the building that currently houses the hematology/oncology center. After the building is vacated, Jacoby said that, depending on permits, the hospital plans to start a renovation that should last 18 months.

The new Hematology/Oncology Care Center will have 38 private patient rooms.

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