A computer-generated image of what the new hospital will look like upon completion as seen from Potrero Avenue. (Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center)

Construction teams break ground today on the San Francisco General Hospital rebuild project, an $887 million initiative to build a hospital that will meet state seismic safety standards.

The new building will be located  next to the existing hospital at 1001 Potrero Ave. It is scheduled to open in January 2015.

It will be a seismically-safe, base-isolated hospital, meaning it can move 30 inches in any direction in the event of an earthquake. It will have nine floors, two of which will be below ground, with a total of nearly 450,000 square feet.

No existing buildings will be torn down or changed and the current hospital will remain fully operational throughout the construction process, said Terry Saltz, a program director at San Francisco General Hospital.

A computer generated image of a nurse station at the new hospital. (Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center)

“We plan on having the entire campus fully functional throughout the entire process,” he said. “Some of the problems we anticipate for the neighborhood are traffic, dust from the  construction project, noise and parking issues, since construction will displace about 100 parking spaces.”

San Francisco General is the only trauma center in the city. It receives almost 30 percent of all San Francisco ambulances and provides 20 percent of the city’s inpatient care. It serves almost 100,000 patients a year and is about 97 percent full on any given day, said Susan Currin, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

Upon completion, the new hospital will have 284 inpatient beds, which is 32 more than what the hospital has now. It will also have more than twice as many beds as the current emergency department, increasing the capacity to 60 patients, which can be expanded to 100 in case of an emergency.

“I know that you’ve seen us tuck patients into hallways and other places,” Currin told the Health Commission last month. “What the new hospital is going to do for us is it’s going to improve the way we provide care.”

The public approved funding for the rebuild project in November, 2008, when a record 84 percent of voters passed Proposition A, authorizing the city to issue general obligation bonds to pay for construction.

Contracts for the construction project are being awarded to low bidders by means of a competitive bidding process, with preference given to local business enterprises, said Ron Alameida of the Department of Public Works, who is program manager for the rebuild.

“In general, the bids have been coming in a bit below budget, which is encouraging,” he said.

Deltrea Crayton, a worker for Webcor contractors, regulates traffic at an entrance to SF General.

The project will create an estimated 3,000 jobs, he said, about half of which will go to San Francisco residents if city goals are met.

Webcor Builders has been hired as the principal contractor for the project. Fong and Chan Architects were hired to develop the design. The Jacobs Engineering Group will serve as construction manager.

A non-profit organization, the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, is raising funds to pay for hospital furniture, supplies and equipment, which will cost an estimated $120 to $130 million. The foundation hopes to cover half of that tab. The rest will have to come from the city’s general fund, said Mitchell Katz, director of the Department of Public Health.

Questions about the project should be submitted via email or referred to the rebuild information line at (415) 206-5784. Safety concerns should be referred to the projects safety hot line at (415) 206-4500.

Bryan Gibel

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bryan has a background in investigative reporting for newspapers and the radio. He is working the health beat for Mission Loc@l.

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3 Comments

  1. While I know and appreciate that the SFGH must expand, I am sad to see the Potrero greenspace and view of Twin Peaks from the main hospital replaced by another building. I do hope, however, that this means that someday the Brutalist concrete mess that is the current main hospital will be razed and replaced sometime in the next decade.

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