Crews working on the new 824,000 sq-ft Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA began last week installing base isolators on the 600-bed facility, preparing it for the possibility of future, or shoud we say inevitable, seismic activity in the Bay Area.

Led by a joint venture between McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and Clark Construction, the $2 billion project will feature 368 individual patient rooms (for a total of 600 patient beds on site), an enlarged Level-1 trauma center and Emergency Department more than twice the size of the current ED, and new surgical, diagnostic and treatment rooms, including 17 operating rooms, 11 interventional/radiology image-guided rooms, five MRIs, four CTs, and one interventional MRI.

The seven-story facility, designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, will be connected to the current existing facility by an overhead pedestrian bridge and an underground tunnel. When complete it will boast a flexible pavilion design with oversized windows to provide natural light and views of the surrounding foothills, five gardens for patients and visitors, walking trails and a meditation room, a green roof and a new parking structure.

The 206 base isolators used on the project will be placed on pedestals in the building’s foundation, and act as "roller skates" under the building during an earthquake, allowing the structure to shift up to six feet during a seismic event. 

The project, which sits between the San Andreas and Hayward fault lineswill use two sizes of base isolators, weighing 2.5 tons and 4 tons respectively. The devices will enable the new Stanford Hospital to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, say officials.

Under SB 1953, which passed in 1994, all California hospitals are required to be seismically upgraded by 2030.

The new Stanford hospital was designed by New York-based Rafael Viñoly Architects in association with Lee, Burkhart, Liu Inc., with offices in San Francisco. The project officially broke ground on May 1, 2013. The new hospital is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and will open for patient care in early 2018.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is rebuilding the 1950s-era hospital facilities to accommodate new medical technology, increase capacity needs and meet seismic-safety requirements. Th­e new Stanford Hospital is part of the roughly $5 billion Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project, which includes the expansion of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the renovation of Hoover Pavilion, the Welch Road Utility Project and the replacement of School of Medicine facilities. ­