Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has launched a $100 million fundraising drive to rebuild the hospital.
The project is in response to an amendment to the 1983 Alquist Seismic Act that requires existing hospitals to be either retrofitted or rebuilt to meet state seismic standards. The bill only applies to acute-care hospitals, which provide overnight service to patients. Cottage Hospital spokeswoman Janet O’Neill said the board of directors chose to spend some extra money to have the hospital rebuilt rather than just retrofitting the existing buildings.
“Retrofitting is cheaper, but that only gives you iron reinforcements. We decided that it makes more sense to rebuild the majority of the hospital,” O’Neill said. “We saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build the hospital correctly.”
The goal of the fundraising drive, $100 million, is less than a third of the project’s $350 million price tag. The rest of the funding would come from hospital reserves, tax-exempt bonds and the Cottage Hospital Foundation, O’Neill said. The hospital would not receive any funding from the state or federal governments because it is a private hospital.
“The bill has a good goal but it’s challenging a lot of hospitals in the state that are not as fortunate as we are here,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said the hospital is currently awaiting approval from the city of Santa Barbara and the state for the project, which is expected to take six and a half years to complete.
“Our hope is that the city council will give its blessing by the end of this year or early next year, and we will begin construction shortly afterward,” O’Neill said. “We don’t want to delay.”
The first phase of construction would include a new power plant. After completion of the power plant, the rest of the buildings would be knocked down and then rebuilt in phases.