New hospital wing to open with Nov. 16 celebration

Sonoma Valley Hospital (SVH) will open the doors to its new wing on Saturday, November 16, with an invitation to the community to come and celebrate its new state-of-the-art Emergency Department and Surgery Center.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the community is invited to tour the new facility, followed at noon by a street party, complete with barbecue and live music. Festivities will conclude in the afternoon with public comments by hospital leadership and local dignitaries.

“We want to thank everyone in the Sonoma Valley for their tremendous support and encourage them to see what we have together created for our community – one of the most advanced Emergency Departments in the North Bay,” said Kelly Mather, SVH CEO. “It’s been a long time in coming, but I think everyone who sees it will feel it’s an investment that will give back to our community for years to come.”

The new Emergency Department, which is expected to be fully operational by mid-December, is formally named the Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Emergency Care Center in honor of its lead donor. It occupies the first floor of the new 12,243 square foot wing, with the new Surgery Center occupying the second floor.

According to Robert Cohen, M.D., SVH Chief Medical Officer, the new ER will transform emergency care in Sonoma. “It’s bigger and better than our previous ER in almost every way,” Dr. Cohen said. “We will have shorter waiting times to see a physician, greater patient comfort while waiting, increased patient privacy, and access to the latest technology. The design also allows for closer monitoring of admitted patients so even small changes in a patient’s condition can be quickly observed.”

Bill Boerum, chairman of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District Board and a board member since the campaign to fund the hospital renovation began, notes that “This is an achievement for the entire community and it’s wonderful to see it come to fruition. Strong community support for passage of the bond in 2008 allowed us to accomplish so much in upgrading the hospital, and the community’s response to the current fundraising effort has been extraordinary. Clearly, our community values its hospital, and now they will have one of the most modern ERs and surgery suites in the region,” he said.

The opening of the new wing completes the first stage in modernizing the hospital, begun in 2008 with passage a $35 million general obligation bond approved by Sonoma voters to allow the hospital to meet California seismic standards and cover the cost of new construction and equipment. It was subsequently determined that the Hospital’s Emergency and Surgery departments could not be upgraded, and a new wing was needed. To accomplish this, the hospital began a community campaign to raise an additional $11 million which, to-date, has secured $8.9 million.

“Thanks to the generosity of so many in our community, we’re very close to reaching the goal of raising the additional $11 million needed to pay for the new wing. Our fund-raising team of local volunteers has done an outstanding job of engaging the community,” Mather said.

Parts of the hospital master plan completed to-date are a new central utility plant, east/west wing infrastructure upgrades, west wing seismic upgrades, infrastructure for electronic health records, expanded parking, electrical upgrades, and now the new wing housing the Emergency Department and Surgery Center.

The wing has been designed with an eye to patient and visitor comfort. Mather notes that soothing color tones and ample natural light are planned throughout, along with artwork that captures the healing qualities of the hospital and Sonoma.

Major donors will be recognized in and around the new wing. Donors who have contributed $30,000 and above have the opportunity to name areas in the wing, while donors who have given $5,000 or more will be recognized on the donor wall in the Forecourt Healing Garden, which is being constructed as part of the hospital’s new entryway.


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