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Medical Center Breaks Ground for Patient Care Pavilion

(L to R) Rev. Carrie Buckner, Steve Lundin, Michael Kim, MD, Tom Drese, Viki Ardito, RN, Kyle Hansen, and Nancy NadelAlta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) held a ground breaking ceremony on October 25 for its new 11 - story Patient Care Pavilion on the Summit Campus.  The ceremony was held on the former site of Bechtel Hall.  Nearly a decade in the making, this project includes 238 new, private patient rooms, a new Emergency Department and a new 1,000 - space parking garage - all designed to meet or exceed state seismic safety requirements.

"We're extremely proud that we can bring this important addition to healthcare in our community and very fortunate to be able to build this project," said Kyle Hansen, the Assistant Administrator, Support Services, at Alta Bates Summit. "This is a positive and new element to our Summit Campus; one the entire community can benefit from in its state-of-the-art technology, family friendly and healing environment."

The $350 million dollar project is funded completely by Sutter Health and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center as a commitment to healthcare in the greater East Bay.  Administrators add that the Patient Care Pavilion will create 500 construction jobs and 2,000 healthcare jobs in Oakland.

History of Bechtel Hall: 370 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland, CA  94609

Demolition of Bechtel Hall started this summer.  For several months heavy construction equipment pieced away at the historic building to make way for the Patient Care Pavilion at the Summit Campus.  According to Carolyn Kemp, Alta Bates Summit spokesperson, the new hospital is designed to be an iconic building that will be the center of the medical campus in Oakland.

"We are making sure that our medical center is a beautiful state-of-the-art healing environment that will be a tremendous source of pride for us all," said Kemp.  "We're all going to share in a unique time as we begin construction, and an incredible opportunity to build upon our 100 year tradition of providing the best possible healthcare for our community."

Residency Building
Bechtel Hall and the adjacent Towne Court have served the Samuel Merritt University (SMU) community for over forty-five years as home to the student dormitory, administration and faculty offices, and classrooms.  The six-story residence had 60 dorm rooms, a swimming pool, a rooftop lounge area, and a living room for social events.  Since 1966, more than 4,500 students in the nursing, podiatry, physical and occupational therapy, and physician assistant programs lived in Bechtel Hall.  The building closed its doors on May 30, 2009. 

Bechtel - 1973In 1965 Samuel Merritt Hospital (now known as Alta Bates Summit Medical Center) celebrated its 56th anniversary with the announcement of Project 70, a seven-million dollar expansion project that was to make the hospital one of the nation's leading medical facilities.  The five year program began with a new nursing residence, known as Bechtel Hall.  It was built to replace Farrelly Hall.

In the fall of 1966, more than 1,000 Samuel Merritt nursing graduates celebrated the completion of the new student resident.  The School named the lower level courtyard and classrooms in memory of Mr. and Mrs. George S. Towne.  The student residence was christened Bechtel Hall, in honor of Stephen D. Bechtel Sr., a major contributor to the building project.  Mr. Bechtel's daughter, Barbara Bechtel Davies -- nurse, equestrienne and philanthropist - received her nursing degree in 1951 from Samuel Merritt's nursing program.  She was awarded the College's first, and only to date, Honorary Doctorate in Nursing Humanities on May 27, 1984.

Brick-by- Brick:
The Development and Alumni Affairs (DAA) office has come up with a way to cement ties with the buildings history for its alumni and SMU employees while raising money for scholarships.  The DAA is offering the opportunity to purchase personalized Bechtel Hall bricks to be placed on the Legacy Brick Wall just outside the Health Education Center on Hawthorne Avenue. 

"We plan to offer the commemorative bricks for sale and place them in a courtyard adjacent to the walkway at the entrance to the HEC," said Sue Valencia, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs.  "For every $500 contribution, the Memory bricks can be bought to recognize alumni and employees, students, a class year, a company or foundation."

Carla Ross, Alumni Director adds that buying a brick will help ensure a SMU legacy for future generations.  "Even though the building that once was Bechtel Hall is gone, with each brick sold and mounted on the HEC wall, part of this historic building will still be preserved, one brick at a time."

The University is planning to install the brick wall in Summer, 2011.  A limited number of bricks are available and the $500 gift is tax-deductible.  All contributions will benefit the General Scholarship Fund unless specified otherwise by the donor. 


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