Whether it’s to advance technology, provide comfort to patients or meet state standards, hospitals in the Valley continue to build. Some, however, such as Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, have seen their expansion efforts thwarted. Others, such as Palmdale Regional Medical Center, are filling a void in communities that have done without a city-based hospital for years. All medical centers that are building in the area are excited about the possibilities that new projects will yield. The following is a roundup of key projects taking place at local hospitals. The Providence Hospitals Although it’s been in the works for years, construction on the new patient care wing at Providence Holy Cross came to a screeching halt in October. That’s when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge determined that the process the City Council used in 2007 to approve the project was incorrect, necessitating another vote, which has yet to be held. The judge’s decision was a victory for a collective of activists who called for the hospital to conduct an environmental impact report due to fears that the project would create parking and traffic problems. For Holy Cross, though, the stalled project means that the hospital will continue to operate over patient capacity, according to spokeswoman Patricia Aidem. Aidem estimates that the hospital has been about 20 to 25 patients over capacity in recent days. Therefore, it’s imperative that the city take a course of action as soon as possible, Aidem stressed. At present, the City Council has yet to put the matter on its agenda, Aidem continued. “We’re urging the City Council to reaffirm its initial approval of this project, so we can get back to work,” Aidem said. Stalled: Providence Holy Cross in Mission Hills was forced to halt construction due to legal challenges. The $143 million expansion project would create more than 100 additional beds at the hospital. For the time being, minimal work continues on the project with state and city approval to prevent the steel frame on the construction site from being a hazard. While work on the Holy Cross South Addition has more or less reached a standstill, the medical center is moving forward elsewhere. It is the key tenant in a new outpatient health center under construction in Porter Ranch that is due to open next spring, according to Aidem. Also opening in springtime is the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center of Holy Cross’ sister hospital Providence Saint Joseph. One challenge, an exciting one, is incorporating coming on board with an outstanding organization like Providence. We’ll spend about $22 million in the next few months upgrading equipment in information technology. At Providence Tarzana Medical Center, plans are in place to improve the hospital so that it meets state seismic regulations and can house more advanced technology. “Challenges include ensuring that we look toward the future in terms of master planning and our issues related to seismic retrofitting and just to grow the facility to meet needs,” said hospital head Dale Surowitz.” The hospital will work with architects and engineers to conduct a full review on the changes that need to be made at Tarzana. Palmdale Regional Medical Center Palmdale may be one of the fastest growing cities in the area, but residents have done without a city-based hospital for decades. That will change late this year when Palmdale Regional Medical Center, now under construction, is set to open. The private, acute care facility will have 250 beds and is expected to be the most advanced medical facility in the greater Palmdale area. The medical center will have the largest emergency room and will be the only trauma center in the Antelope Valley, according to the City of Palmdale. Challenger Business Park, a $35 million, 100,000-square-foot complex, will sit next to the hospital. The park fills a growing demand by doctors and other health care professionals who need a central location from which to service the community, according to City of Palmdale Communications Manager John Mlynar. The business park offers office space ranging from 1,200 to 49,000 square feet and buildings for sale ranging from 6,250 to 8,400 square feet. Antelope Valley Hospital Antelope Valley Hospital in nearby Lancaster is also in the midst of construction. The hospital is in Phase 1 of completing work on its parking area to make entering and exiting the facility easier, according to hospital head Ed Mirzabegian. “We are working on expanding our emergency room area. We are working to renegotiate our radiology and cardiology area,” he said. “And in that phase, we’re looking to increase and remodel our capabilities.” Each project is in the first phase of construction. The estimated cost of the building is $90 million, Mirzabegian continued. Simi Valley Hospital Simi Valley Hospital has several construction projects underway. At present, it is building a new lobby addition anticipated to open late next year. Last year, the hospital demolished its 1965 building, allowing it to focus fully on the construction of its new 7,000-square-foot lobby. “Tower construction activities are coming full circle with the work on the lobby,” stated Darwin Remboldt, Simi Valley Hospital president and CEO. “Our new lobby will be a beautiful gateway into our state-of-the-art patient care areas. I think our community is really going to be impressed when the lobby is completed in 2009.” The Volunteer Guild Gift Shop, now located in the basement level of the main building, will move to the lobby after work is completed. A deluxe coffee station for employees and guests will be added. The construction project will also result in Spiritual Care Services opening a new chapel with doors that open to a garden, where employees, patients and visitors can recharge. Also in the works at the hospital is a reception desk that will welcome entering guests. The desk will be placed next to private admitting rooms and will be visible from the main entrance doors. The admitting area will have three separate, private sections for patient registration. Additional features of the lobby include four distinct seating areas. Northridge Hospital Medical Center Northridge Hospital has a few major projects it is very excited about, according to Senior Vice President of Operations Ron Rozanski. First, the hospital is expanding its cancer center by 3,150 square feet. The expansion will include a new building to house its second linear accelerator, a radiation treatment tool that doctors use to pinpoint and kill cancerous tumors. The expansion, which will include additional examination and treatment rooms, will cost $7.9 million. “We have another project that we’re probably equally excited about,” Rozanski said. “It’s the construction of two new operating rooms that are replacing two rooms we’ve had to close down because of seismic upgrading. These two new operating rooms each will be close to 900 square feet, close to double the size of our current operating rooms. They’re deliberately much larger, so that they can house the modern technology used in surgery.” The cost of those two rooms, which will be used for neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery, is $10 million. The technology featured in the rooms includes flat panel video monitors that help doctors retrieve images of the body parts on which they’re operating. The neurosurgical room has special hardware and software that helps the neurosurgeon navigate the complex channels of the brain, Rozanski said. The rooms are expected to be completed by January. Northridge Hospital will also begin a seismic upgrade of its diagnostic and treatment buildings. “In a violent earthquake that building will remain standing and most likely continue to be occupied,” Rozanski explained. “It meets the state’s toughest seismic code requirements.” The retrofitting will cost $26 million. The total cost of construction at the hospital will be approximately $306 million, according to Rozanski. Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center In March of 2008, Kaiser’s new Panorama City facility opened its doors. A few months later, the hospital opened its Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Kaiser Panorama City is also working on a new public entrance to connect the basement of its new facility to the old facility. On the technology front, Kaiser Panorama City also recently went live with the final phase of its electronic medical records system. Offsite, Kaiser is working on construction of a new medical building called Mission Hills Medical Offices that will open next spring. The offices will house a dozen physicians, a pharmacy and a basic laboratory. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital A number of departments are under or pending construction at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. For one, the hospital is nearing construction on its Intensive Care Unit, with crews preparing for the installation of semi-permanent trailers adjacent to the hospital’s pavilion, according to Public Relations Manager Laura Young. “Administrative offices will relocate to the trailers in preparation of construction on the new ICU, which will begin in early 2009,” Young stated. “Administration will remain in the trailers until the first medical office building is complete.” The timeframe of construction on the medical office building depends on Master Plan approval by the Santa Clarita City Council. In addition to these projects, work continues on the reconfiguration of the physician and handicapped parking areas. Construction has also recently taken place on Henry Mayo’s Emergency Department expansion. Glendale Memorial Hospital Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center is renovating patient rooms, nursing stations and other clinical units, according to spokeswoman Amy Stricker. Renovations will include private patient rooms and are still in progress, she added. The renovations are allowing the center to implement new technology. In July 2008, Glendale Memorial introduced a new MRI, CT scanner and advanced imaging equipment. The hospital also implemented a facility-wide information system upgrade this year.