Seismic Shift: System Opts To Build New, Not Retrofit

By Dan Hounsell
June 17, 2021

As hospitals nationwide begin to incorporate the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic into hospital new construction and renovations, systems in one state also must incorporate seismic considerations into such projects.

Kaiser Permanente and Providence Southern California are partnering to bring a new hospital to the High Desert in 2026 in a venture that will mean the closure of the nearly 65-year-old Providence St. Mary Medical Center, according to the Victorville Daily Press. Providence officials say the new hospital, which is pending regulatory review and approval, will be located in Victorville and include about 260 beds. The estimated cost of the new hospital is $750 million.

California hospitals are bracing for new earthquake laws mandating that by 2030, hospitals must be able to remain in operation after a major earthquake. St. Mary Medical Center will close because it does not meet the new seismic requirements. Officials said retrofitting St. Mary would cost about the same as building a new hospital.

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