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.
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
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
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