New facility at Valley Medical Center on schedule to open in October

Despite many delays, lawsuits and exceeding of construction budget, the new building at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center housing the spinal cord injury rehab center, along with other specialties, is progressing along to the point of a scheduled opening in October of this year.

According to the Mercury News, the 168-bed, six-story facility will replace patient accommodations in Valley Medical Center’s nearby Old Main hospital, which state officials deemed unfit to weather earthquakes and were once poised to shut down. In 2008, county voters averted a closure by approving $840 million in bonds to bring the hospital up to par, among other projects.

The new bed building will improve on much more than seismic safety, replacing an over 50-year-old facility with what officials from the county and hospital called “state-of-the-art” technology. All of the new building’s patients will have single-bed rooms allowing for greater patients’ privacy and for the hospital’s efficiency. More spacious rooms will better accommodate patients’ families — for example, with a wardrobe for personal items.

New building on the right side will replace the two buildings on the left side.

New building on the right side will replace the two buildings on the left side.

New lifts to help patients move around their rooms will also set the bed building apart. The lifts, anchored to tracks on the ceiling, extend all the way from patients’ beds to their adjacent bathrooms so that, for example, obese patients with trouble getting up can bathe more easily.  Most facilities have only some rooms with lifts, and few have lifts to the bathroom. The Rehabilitation Center for spinal cord injury is particularly cutting-edge as it boasts an all-new “gait pool” for aquatic therapy as well as an underwater treadmill that Old Main doesn’t have.

However, all of these upgrades will come at a much greater cost to Santa Clara County than originally anticipated. The bed facility will cost a total of $465 million, significantly more than the $290 million budgeted. While the $840 million in bonds will still cover construction costs, it’s not enough to cover demolition of the old site as well. That means the demolition will be delayed.  

The hospital has tentatively scheduled October as the month that all the patients from the Old Main building will be moved to the new facility.