A $100 million-plus planned expansion of the French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) in San Luis Obispo County has been referenced in the Dodge Momentum Index as one of the nation’s largest new projects to enter the planning stage in April.
Announcing the expansion, FMHC president and CEO Alan Iftiniuk said: “It’s about transforming the kind of care that we can provide to our community. It will be the creation of a brand new hospital with features found in no other in the County of San Luis Obipso.”
Dignity Health Central Coast revealed the plan plans that will dramatically expand FHMC with the four-story addition, local television reported.
“This is an extremely exciting day in the evolution of healthcare in SLO County,” said FHMC Community Board chairman Leopold Selker. “It represents the rightsizing of French Hospital Medical Center for the needs of the community and for French’s national reputation.”
The new hospital is scheduled to move into the design phase in May. A review phase is set to begin in December and last about a year.
Construction on the 85,000 sq. ft. building is set to begin in November 2019.
“It really isn’t about bricks and mortar, although that’s a big component,” Iftiniuk said. “It’s really redefining and implementing changes that will really affect our entire community in the way we’re able to provide care to our community. It is transformational.”
The new hospital will feature several new amenities, including 95 private patient rooms, which will be the first in the county. When the rooms are completed, they’ll combine with existing rooms at FHMC to bring the total amount to 115.
Other features include an eight-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, five intensive care unit patient suites, a new front entrance and lobby, helipad, expanded space for imaging, labs, materials management, food preparation and additional parking spaces.
Nationally, the Dodge Momentum Index jumped 6.1% in April to 163.0 (2000=100) from the revised March reading of 153.7.
The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. Both components of the Momentum Index moved higher in April, with the commercial component up 6.3% and the institutional component up 5.8%.
Over the last two months the commercial portion of the Momentum Index has posted the most aggressive growth, fueled by continued low vacancy rates for commercial buildings as well as the potential benefits from the tax cuts passed in December. The gains for the institutional component, while healthy, have been more moderate reflecting the ebb and flow of public funding for larger education and public building projects.
In April, 12 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. The two leading commercial projects were office buildings – a $200 million building in Boston MA and a $175 million building in Atlanta GA. In addition to the hospital, the other leading institutional project was a $100 million training center in Pelham AL.