Wednesday, July 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

NorthBay project gives boost to economy

Health care. With an aging population and ever-changing technology and treatment options, health care remains one of the most innovative economic segments in the California and local economy.

While local health care providers have been investing in new facilities in Green Valley and Busch Corporate Center, any visitor to or resident of central Fairfield cannot miss the core facility in the Fairfield health care sector: NorthBay Medical Center on B. Gale Wilson Boulevard near Solano Town Center mall.

NorthBay has submitted big plans for modernizing this facility, and our column this week looks at some of the visible changes residents may see over the next few years.

The proposed project is a modernization of the existing medical center. NorthBay is not proposing an expansion of the number of beds at the central Fairfield campus. NorthBay still owns land in Green Valley planned for additional office and clinic space. In addition, NorthBay plans to expand services and facilities at its Vacaville sister hospital in the near future.

The focus of NorthBay’s current project is improving patient services and accessibility at the central Fairfield hospital while modernizing the office and treatment spaces. The facilities will replace and update facilities located in the current hospital facility, and some of the space in the old hospital will be deactivated for now. The key elements of the project include:

  • A three-story, 78,000-square-foot wing containing a diagnostic imaging center, nutrition, sterile support services, and, on the second floor, a 22-bed skilled nursing facility. The new wing will be located behind the existing Emergency Department wing facing B. Gale Wilson Boulevard.
  • A 4,300-square foot “waiting pavilion” to centralize patient intake and provide a comfortable, attractive space for families, friends and visitors. The new pavilion is a glass structure that will certainly enhance the facade of the medical center.
  • New patient and visitor parking located north and east of the new hospital wing and east of the existing hospital building. To address the need for convenient parking, NorthBay plans to construct new and improved parking lots. According to Steve Huddleston, NorthBay Healthcare vice president of public affairs, after the work is completed, NorthBay plans for all parking in the future to be accessed from B. Gale Wilson to avoid impacts on the neighborhood.

NorthBay is also proposing complete renovation of the existing one-story, 17,000-square-foot Emergency Department (the building that faces B. Gale Wilson Boulevard.).

Employment in the health care sector has been one of the few engines of job growth during the economic downturn

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released June 6 state that ambulatory health care services employment rose by 23,000 in May. Ambulatory (outpatient) care has added an average of 16,000 jobs per month so far in 2014, similar to its average monthly job gain in 2013 (15,000). Physicians’ offices have been the largest contributor to ambulatory health care services gains so far in 2014. Hospitals added 7,000 jobs in May, continuing a four-month upward trend after employment in the industry ticked down in December and January.

The industry has added an average of 2,000 jobs per month so far in 2014, compared to an average monthly change of zero in 2013.

NorthBay Healthcare is one of Fairfield’s largest employers with more than 1,400 jobs, which creates a positive impact on the local economy. NorthBay employees, patients and visitors contribute greatly to the lunch and dinner business in central Fairfield restaurants and shopping in retail stores. NorthBay also contributes to the community through its public service and charitable events. The annual Wine & Food Jubilee has long been one of the biggest events in central Solano County, and Fairfield was pleased to be able to host this event in 2014.

NorthBay’s investment in central Fairfield will help strengthen the city’s core while ensuring the long-term health of the organization.

Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. Reach them at 428-7461 or email at kdumas@fairfield.ca.gov or bkmiller@fairfield.ca.gov.

Brian Miller and Karl Dumas

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