Plan for UCSF Hospital, as viewed from Third Street. Rendering by Anshen & Allen.

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The University of California, San Francisco is on schedule for constructing its children’s, women’s, and cancer hospital in Mission Bay, though offices for medical school faculty still need a location and funding.

Cindy Lima, executive director for the project, provided updates and took input on the kinds of the signs planned for the hospital at a Wednesday community meeting.

The Mission Bay UCSF Community Advisory Group Action Team met in a trailer on the hospital site along 16th Street. The group provides local input on development issues related to the university’s Mission Bay campus and its upcoming medical center.

UCSF plans to complete a 289-bed hospital here by the end of 2014. It will occupy the eastern half of the center’s site, wedged between Third Street and what will become an extension of Fourth Street.

UCSF faculty teaching at the hospital will need office space, and the university’s planners are still looking for money and a location. Ideally the offices would be built on UC land but another location may be necessary, according to Lima.

Lima urged the group to look at proposed signage from the perspective that new patients and stressed visitors will be coming there every day, and that signs need to be clear, as well as minimal.  Some of the mockups left space for the names of potential donors.

“The Boss UCSF Medical Center,” Lima jokingly suggested.

Kate Keating, from environmental design group Kate Keating Associates, presented five types of signs that would be seen at the street level by drivers and pedestrians, as well as two skyline signs for the north and south edges, respectively. These two would be black during the day and backlit at night. The planners decided to make this backlighting adjustable so that they can change it after the building is constructed if it’s too bright for neighbors.

Some community members worried that the children’s signage wouldn’t be appropriately childlike, but Lima assured them that the designers were taking kid and parent input and that they were aiming for “sophisticated whimsy” when designing the children’s entry.

Signs would encourage drivers to the Fourth Street side of the hospital; Third Street will remain a no-stopping thoroughfare.

Inside the construction trailer, Lima showed community members various color schemes for parts of the hospital, including meditation chapel and children’s area. There are also mockups of various hospital rooms near Café Terzetto across the street, and that the public should visit and is invited to provide feedback.

She also asked attendees to return during the day and view the 3-D  modeling that various architects, contractors, and sub-contractors have been using to craft the buildings. Lima said this kind of modeling will help to avoid delays during construction.

“Excuse me, your sprinkler pipe just went through my air duct,” Lima offered as an example of possible issues that can be visualized in the model.

Existing structures on the large site have been demolished, and detailed planning is ongoing. Lima said UCSF final approvals from the University of California and government regulators in the fall, and construction will begin in December.

The community group also discussed whether art made by children staying at the existing UCSF hospital should be installed along 16th Street to block the view of the construction trailers at a cost of perhaps $30,000. Attendees were ambivalent about the prospect of this kid’s art, and some alternatives posed Wednesday included hiring a professional artist instead or simply using potted trees. Other ideas floated were posting plans of the site, historical pictures from Mission Bay’s industrial and shipping past, or material about UCSF’s current research.

The hospital is mostly on track for meeting its funding needs. It will get $69 million from the state through propositions that the voters approved, at least $117 million from UCSF’s medical center equity. As yet, the project’s collected $230 million in gifts and aims to reach $400 million by September.

The remainder of the $1.6 billion will come from loans, gifts, and state funding.

The Mayor’s office and UCSF officials envision the hospital as a critical third component to the Mission Bay ethos, a triumvirate of biotech, life sciences academics, and medical care.

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Anrica is a science reporter and twice Cal grad, with a degree in engineering and a master of journalism. She's a Bay Area native and lives in Oakland. She's enjoyed wide-ranging professional endeavors, including shoveling manure, researching human signaling proteins, volunteering in a leprosy hospital, using an atomic force microscope, and modeling the electricity grid.

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