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Salinas Valley Memorial Awards Seismic Retrofit Contract

SALINAS, CA, February 25, 2009 - The Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Board of Directors unanimously awarded a seismic retrofit contract that will bring the original hospital structure into compliance with state earthquake safety mandates.

Hensel Phelps Construction Company is a well-known national firm that will undertake the building project at Salinas Valley Memorial. Nationally recognized for quality, Hensel Phelps Construction recently completed the UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern California, and is currently upgrading the San Jose International Airport. Sub-contractors involved in this project include Granite Construction, Val's Plumbing and Heating, JM Electric, A & B Fire Protection and Safety.

Construction at Salinas Valley Memorial will begin March 11th, and should be completed by the summer of 2010. California Senate Bill 1953 requires that all California hospitals meet stringent earthquake safety standards by the year 2013. Of the 15 buildings on the Salinas Valley Memorial campus, only the original facility needs additional structural reinforcement to meet the latest earthquake seismic safety code standards. The other 14 buildings, which were built after 1972, already conform to the seismic regulations and will be operational to 2030 and beyond.

"We have had to be creative in our approach to meeting the state requirements," said Sam Downing, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial. "We are the only hospital in the state applying this unique solution involving computer models of seismic safety and a type of construction referred to as 'incidental structural alterations'. Because of our strong working relationship with the state, and because we have exhausted other alternatives, regulators are working with us so that we can meet the seismic requirements on a timely basis."

The project will include construction of concrete shear walls with a considerable amount of additional high-grade rebar to more effectively support the main hospital building. The shear walls, measuring 3-feet wide will stretch 4 stories high—from the original foundation in the basement through the third floor of some of the patient care areas. In order to accomplish this major retrofit project, some buildings attached to the main structure will have to be removed. Several departments and areas within the hospital will require relocation, including:

  • The front entrance to the hospital will be moved in the near future to the current Heart Center entrance.

  • Valet parking will be located at the front of the Heart Center, and a major portion of the current parking structure will be allotted to patient and visitor parking.

  • In order to ease congestion in the area, additional employee parking is being planned for a location off Abbott Street. Also, a separate location south of Sanborn and Abbott is planned for major equipment and construction material storage.

  • Joyce Wyman outpatient surgery will move to the 3rd floor, making way for a temporary entrance to the existing Emergency Department.

Major modernization projects at the Salinas Valley Memorial campus have occurred since 1972. "We are looking forward to this challenging project, and we'd like to thank the public, staff and volunteers for their support during the construction project," said Nathan Olivas, President of the Board of Directors for Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. "This structural modification better ensures the safety and integrity of the original hospital building, and allows us to more precisely plan future projects to better meet the healthcare needs of our District," Olivas said.

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