|SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
S.F. GENERAL HOSPITAL
RENOVATION PLAN UNVEILED
Erin Allday, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The city revealed Tuesday the first detailed look at the renovation of San Francisco General Hospital - an $887.4 million project that is set to go before voters in November.
The construction plans, presented in a 51-page report during a Health Commission meeting, include a nine-story building with 284 patient beds on the edge of the hospital campus.
The old hospital, with 252 beds, is considered seismically unsafe and under state law must be renovated or replaced by 2013. Under the plan presented to the commission it would remain standing, and would hold psychiatric beds, clinical laboratories and outpatient facilities, along with the cafeteria.
The project will go before the Planning Commission on April 10 for public comment. If a bond to pay for the renovations is approved by voters on Nov. 4, construction would start on the new building next summer. The hospital would be complete by 2015.
"This hospital is the anchor to our entire system of health care delivery," Mayor Gavin Newsom said during Tuesday's Health Commission meeting. "We have a historic chance to do something that will secure our future."
Newsom and health commissioners said they were pleased to see such an extensively detailed plan of the proposed hospital months before it will go before voters. The city spent $25 million studying renovation concepts and preparing the proposal.
The goal, Newsom said, was to avoid a situation similar to a bond measure for Laguna Honda Hospital nine years ago. Voters at the time approved a
$299 million bond to rebuild the hospital, but the cost has more than doubled. The hospital is expected to be complete next year. Newsom said that the detailed San Francisco General plan makes the cost of the project clear, right from the start.
"We have a lot of angry people that don't trust us" after Laguna Honda, Newsom said. "Now we're asking them for close to a billion dollars.
"We're on the verge of resolving one of the city's greatest challenges. We must do what is right and principled."
Health Commission members said they are relieved to have the opportunity to plan the San Francisco General project so early. "We weren't allowed to plan Laguna Honda," said Commissioner David Sanchez Jr.
Under state law, all acute care hospitals must be seismically safe by 2013; if they have no plans to do that, they must close by the end of this year. Hospitals can ask for extensions on the 2013 deadline if they are in the process of renovating.
The new building, which would be located on Potrero Avenue between two current buildings, would be oval-shaped, with two large underground floors and a rooftop garden.
"San Francisco General is really the core of our health system," said Richard Hodgson, vice president of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, which is endorsing the plan to rebuild the hospital. "Our clinics would not be able to survive without it."
E-mail Erin Allday at firstname.lastname@example.org.