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.