In November of 2019, Alameda Health System began the multi-year remodel and seismic upgrade of its Alameda Hospital campus and less than two years later, on October 21, the kitchen moved operations and began preparing patient food and on October 25, the new Alameda Hospital Café opened its doors to employees, patients and visitors.

The beautiful space incorporates aspects of the natural environment that makes Alameda unique: the shoreline, the birds, and the bay. The café opened with a new menu and very soon patients will be offered a more personalized and enhanced menu and service. “Food and nutrition services takes great pride in our commitment to providing our patients and staff delicious meals made from fresh and sustainable ingredients”, says Poonam Patil, System Director of Food and Nutrition Services. “Our commitment to the health of our patients and the environment is reflected throughout all AHS cafes and we’re excited about the opportunities that the new kitchen and café will offer our patients, visitors and staff.”

While planning began years ago, this project was a monumental undertaking for Alameda Health System and especially the departments and leaders at Alameda Hospital who spearheaded the construction project. These seismic upgrades were mandated by the state (Senate Bill 90) to continue to provide acute and emergency care to the community.

The project required a number of key departments to be temporarily or permanently relocated, soil stabilization underneath the main hospital was performed to help eliminate the risk of liquefaction in the event of an earthquake, ADA upgrades were made, and the pedestrian bridge connecting the administration/medical office building to the acute hospital building was removed.

Along with the seismic work, the other major requirement was the move of the kitchen and cafeteria from a building constructed in 1925 into the acute care building that met the required seismic standards. Construction all occurred adjacent to the emergency department and underneath a number of patient care areas including surgery, the subacute unit, laboratory services, the medical surgical patient unit and adjacent to our neighbors in the community. With thorough preparation, planning and collaboration among many departments, the impact to patients, employees, and services was mitigated.

“The success of a project this large could not have been possible without the teamwork of everyone involved. To be on time, within budget, and without any significant impact to our patients, employees, and community is an incredible experience”, says Kristen Thorson, Manager of Facilities for Alameda Hospital and San Leandro Hospital. “I couldn’t be more grateful to have worked with such knowledgeable and skilled individuals from our construction and project management teams to all the department leaders at Alameda Hospital and throughout AHS.”

The retrofit and renovation project has resulted in a beautiful, welcoming and healing space where staff and visitors can take a break, unwind, and enjoy a delicious meal.

The experiences of the pandemic are a harsh reminder that hospitals and health care systems must plan for, and deal with, a number of emergency situations beyond earthquakes and the resources required can put extreme strain on health care systems. While AHS has fulfilled its current seismic requirements that ensures Alameda Hospital meets strict safety standards, additional seismic mandates for 2030 loom. AHS is working with CHA, CAPH, the City of Alameda Health Care District, and other stakeholders to look at the future of health care in our communities.