Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sutter Regional Completes Massive Move

Sutter Regional Completes Massive Move
Foundation's Plan To Centralize Services Now a Reality
By Ines Bebea | December 18, 2007 16:22

Sutter Regional Medical Foundation is putting the finishing touches on the new building at their $75 million Fairfield Medical Campus. Photo by Brad ZweerinkDaily Republic

FAIRFIELD - Sutter Regional Medical Foundation has added the final pieces to its $75 million Fairfield Medical Campus. With Phase III of its 11-acre site on Busch Corporate Center completed, the foundation's aggressive plan to centralize its services is a reality.

But the challenge for the foundation, as for any business changing locations, was how to make the transition without jeopardizing patient care. To make the move from its 40,000-square-foot building at 1234 Empire Street, the foundation embarked on an ambitious plan to move 130 employees, equipment and medical records without missing a beat.

First, in early November, patients received letters in English and Spanish informing them of the move. Second, medical and administrative services and equipment were moved in stages to Sutter's new building at 2720 Low Court. Third, it prepared staff at its care centers and offices in Fairfield and Vacaville to treat the dispersed patients seeking medical treatment.

And finally, with the lease on Empire Street expiring Dec. 31, the administration was eager to move before the Christmas holiday. The final move was made from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.

'We knew that our lease was expiring in December, and we began preparing for that future in 2004,' said John Ray, chief executive officer of Sutter Regional Medical Foundation. 'We were at the downtown location since it was built in 1984. It gave us a chance to plan and invest in our expansion ahead of time.'

The new three-story, 69,000-square-foot building, which opened on Dec. 3, joins the Diagnostic Imaging and Ambulatory Center, and the After Hours Care Clinic that opened earlier in the year. Construction for the medical campus began in summer 2006 and was completed last month.

The obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, optometry and urology departments were moved in October to one of the first buildings. Cardiology, internal medicine, oncology, family practices, laboratory services medical records and administration followed in November.

'What this facility gives us are the capabilities and starting point to bring our services into the 21st century,' said Samuel Santoro, president of the Solano Regional Medical Group and an obstetrics and gynecology physician. 'It has the IT capabilities to support electronic medical records, and it is designed to make the experience very patient-oriented.'

Although the move was prompted by the need for more space and the expiring lease at Empire Street, it was also tied to the foundation's desire to own the buildings its medical offices occupy.

'Renewing the lease was never part of the equation,' Ray said. 'The idea behind the campus was to make the medical experience unique for our patients. It is part of what we envisioned and what we needed to do to meet our growing needs.'

The vacant Empire Street building is now available for lease or sale by NAIBT Commercial. It has already generated some interest. Rich Fenske, an NAIBT Commercial representative, said there is a possibility of two large tenants occupying the building.

'Some of the interest is from parties that want to lease and others that are interested in buying and renovating the building,' Fenske said. 'Our preference is a medical tenant that can use the existing layout of the building. But we are open to considering tenants who need at least 20,000 square feet in the building.'

With the Fairfield campus now in the past, the foundation is setting its sights on the other facilities in the county. Last summer, it opened a 12,000-square-foot care center in Vallejo and is interested in owning property in Vacaville to expand its offices there. Plans for its additional 12 acres in Busch Corporate Center have not been finalized.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

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