News

New Stanford hospital preps for the 'big one'

Building designed to withstand a devastating earthquake

When a large earthquake hits the Bay Area, the new seven-story Stanford Hospital, currently under construction, is expected to literally skate right through it, according to hospital officials.

The 824,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by 2017 and to open its doors in early 2018. Of all the new features being lauded by officials -- a new trauma center, 17 operating rooms and five gardens with walking trails -- there are 206 that visitors will never see. And they could turn out to be the most critical to patient care.

Hidden beneath the structure will be base isolators, 2.5- to 4-ton steel plates that roll on metal bearings to allow the rigid building to sway. Each base isolator is mounted on a piling that rises above the concrete foundation. They move much like giant roller skates, said Jennifer Costa, Stanford University Medical Center spokeswoman for planning design and construction.

In an earthquake, the entire structure will be able to rock a total of six feet, or three feet in any one direction, which should prevent the building from damage when the "big one" hits, Costa said.

Stanford is building the new facility to meet state requirements for seismic safety as well as to expand its services in light of high local and regional demand. Stanford is the only Level 1 trauma center on the Peninsula between San Jose and San Francisco, and it often takes cases from as far away as San Benito County. Level 1 is the highest ranking of care. Having an expanded, technologically advanced facility is not only critical to care in a disaster, but the building must also be able to weather a powerful earthquake. The new hospital is designed to withstand up to a magnitude-8 temblor, Costa said.

The building will also have a six-foot "floating wall" between an adjacent parking garage and the trauma center. The parking structure, large enough to accommodate 900 cars, can be converted into a triage center in the event of a catastrophe and connects directly to the emergency room, Costa said.

Once the new hospital is completed, the complex will also have an additional 368 beds, bringing the total to 600 on site. The new trauma center will be twice the size of the current facility. The next construction phase, moving into structural steel, is scheduled for late June to early July.

Seismic upgrades to the older hospital will follow after the new hospital is completed, Costa said.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopening soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 11 comments | 5,032 views

Eyes and the End of Life: Why Spend Time With the Dying?
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,782 views

The HSR Decision
By Steve Levy | 7 comments | 1,100 views

We need a new garage downtown Palo Alto -- forget about being politically correct
By Diana Diamond | 5 comments | 914 views

Know Before You Buy: Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 279 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details