Hospital awards final $23 million for upgrade

The board of directors for Sonoma Valley Hospital approved a design-build contract Tuesday night locking in a $23 million price tag to upgrade the facility by the state-mandated deadline of January 2013.

The contract defines the project scope, timetable, work plan and the target price, which the team of Otto Construction and Nacht & Lewis Architects must not exceed.

Project leader Mike Feuz, president of Otto Construction, said the next step is a four-to-six month final design phase. “We’ve worked hard to define the parameters,” he said. “Now we’ll flesh out all those ideas and details, and come up with a final design.”

Those specific plans will then go to the state for a full and lengthy review. Several agencies are involved in the process that, Feuz said, won’t likely conclude until October 2011.

Actual construction will begin within weeks of the state’s OK, and finish in December of 2012. The 13-month construction schedule is “fairly aggressive, but doable,” said Feuz.

The design-build team, working with SVH staff input, will complete the renovation and bring the hospital into compliance with state seismic standards. Energy upgrades and aesthetic improvements will also be incorporated.

The entire project will exhaust the $35 million in general obligation bonds approved by voters. According to Bill Boerum, hospital board chair, of the $12 million in bonds issued so far, about $4.1 million was spent to retire old bond obligations. Another $3 million has been spent on the initial study, planning and design phase of the upgrade, he said, with the remainder pledged to early elements of the project.

The board will vote to issue the remaining bonds at its August meeting. Although some savings have been realized in the overall planning process, the project – “getting more bang for its buck,” said Boerum – will cost the originally allotted $35 million.
“There won’t be anything left over,” he said.

The contract is the culmination of months of planning to hone the scope, and conceptual design of the project, officials said. Having agreed on those key points, costly changes or surprises are unlikely.

Dr. Richard Kirk thanked the hospital’s clinical staff for incorporating a patient oriented, family-friendly philosophy into the design parameters, to create “a warmer, friendlier, less institutional” setting.

The design-build concept is still relatively new to public works projects. Hospital project advisor Norman Gilroy said if the hospital had relied on the traditional method, it wouldn’t be at this point in the process until a year from now.

“With design-build, we have more certain pricing and a considerable compression in time — and time is money,” he said previously. Tuesday night, after months of study and the approval of a contract thicker than several phone books, Gilroy was all smiles. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“I finally see a smile on Norma’s face,” said Board Members Marilyn Agrimonti, “That’s a good sign.”

To earn the job, the team of Otto Construction and Nacht & Lewis submitted the bid rated the “Best Value” by the Hospital’s Facility Advisory Committee. It demonstrated a proven track record using the design-build method, including recent successes with the Sacramento VA Medical Center, the remodeling of the Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, and on the Eskaton Village Grass Valley Senior Living Facility.

For a district hospital to be able to use the design-build method was made possible by 2008 legislation written by State Senator Patricia Wiggins. It allows a single company or consortium to act as both project designer and builder.

The design-build entity arranges all architectural, engineering, and construction services, and is responsible for delivering the project at a guaranteed price and schedule based upon performance criteria set by the hospital.
That all got the green light at Tuesday night’s meeting.


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