St. John’s Health Center Reaches Out To Community For Development Support

Friday, 21 Jun 2013, 9:20:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

St. Johns Medical Center
Courtesy of St. Johns Medical Center
St. Johns Medical Center

St. John’s Health Center has already began

construction on its new Entry Plaza and West Parking Lot, yet as the hospital tries

to make headways with the Development Agreement it has with the City of Santa

Monica, its officials hope to maintain

an open line of communication with local residents and stakeholders.

A handful of those residents turned up at

a Monday community outreach meeting hosted by St. John’s, with the hospital’s ombudsperson

giving a brief presentation providing an overview of where construction currently

stands and what issues remains ahead.

Issues raised by residents included

complaints of noise and concerns of parking.

Specifically,

since St. John’s Health Center is surround by housing and the emergency room

entrance for ambulances is directly across

from apartment buildings on Arizona Avenue, several complaints have been

lodged with the hospital about siren noise

in the wee hours of the night.

Lindsay Barker, the hospital’s community

ombudsperson and meeting chair, said while St. John’s cannot instruct vehicles

of Santa Monica Fire or Police Departments to keep their respective sirens off

at, say, 3 am, all private ambulances must silently enter the emergency room.

Barker added the hospital would be in constant

contact with ambulances to ensure their respective sirens do not disturb residents

overnight.

Another resident was concerned about the

impending loss of parking spaces surrounding the hospital and how such a move

would negatively affect those who live right by or close to St. John’s.

Beyond the concerns, it was also revealed

St. John’s may no longer be the title sponsor of the religiously affiliated hospital.

A not-for-profit Roman Catholic hospital, St.

John’s Health Center was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1942.

According to the hospital’s officials, the

Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth has just entered into an exclusive

negotiation with Providence for sponsorship and naming rights.

If a deal were reached, the hospital’s new

name would carry “Providence” in the title.

Hospital officials said no timetable had been

set to decide upon the sponsorship.

As for current construction, Barker stated

during her presentation the Entry Plaza might be complete as early as the end of

August or as late as mid-September.

Also being constructed this year on the Health

Center’s campus: a large canopy adjacent to the Entry Plaza; a fountain in front

of the Entry Plaza; landscaping parallel to Santa Monica Boulevard; the Jimmy Stewart

Rose Garden; and, the West Parking Lot.

Barker pointed out a few internal issues

the hospital is also dealing with, including concerns of employee smoking, staff

use of handicap placards for street parking, and construction truck routes.

The hospital will continue working with

the community as construction and the DA process plays out, Barker said.

Under the current iteration of the St. John’s

DA, the hospital was permitted to build its new entry plaza without having to build

a subterranean parking structure underneath.

The original DA required such a

subterranean parking structure.

However, that element was modified last

year when an amendment was approved allowing St. John’s to move forward with

the Entry Plaza but  provide parking that

is the “functionally equivalent” of a subterranean garage – potentially directing

visitors, physicians, and staff to off-site parking.

The amended DA also required the hospital

to provide valet parking, create a TDM program, make certain signal and street

improvements, and make monetary contributions for the Memorial Park Expo Station.

To ask questions or provide

feedback on the St. John’s DA and construction timeline, Barker made herself

available; she may be contacted at 310.829.6552 or via email at

Lindsay.Barker@stjohns.org.

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