Originally published in San Francisco Business Times.

By Christ Rauber

March 25, 2016

Alameda Health System and Alameda County are about to burst with pride about the health system’s new inpatient tower at Oakland’s Highland Hospital.

The county is investing at least $668 million to expand and upgrade the safety net hospital’s campus, including the new nine-story, 169-bed Acute Care Tower, slated to open April 4.

That overall price tag includes $40 million in equipment and furnishings, with $25 million included as part of the new inpatient facility.

The tower itself cost $440 million, and is the latest portion of a multi-phase renovation of the Highland Hospital campus that won’t be fully complete until the end of next year. The upgrade was needed to meet state seismic safety standards for inpatient facilities, and to make it more appealing to patients, many of whom now have alternatives under health reform, officials say.

Overall, AHS includes the flagship Highland campus, 251-bed Alameda Hospital, 93-bed San Leandro Hospital, the 80-bed John George Psychiatric Pavilion, 159-bed Fairmont Hospital (an acute rehab center) and several other outpatient and specialty sites in Alameda County. But Highland Hospital is by far the largest piece of the puzzle.

The Business Times got a sneak peek at the new tower March 24, with help from a host of county and hospital system executives, including Delvecchio Finley, CEO of Alameda Health System and Highland; Susan Muranishi, Alameda County administrator; Ann Ludwig, medical facilities program manager for Alameda County’s General Services Agency; David Warmouth, vice president of support services for the hospital system; and AHS communications director Jerri Randrup.

The project is the largest construction effort ever funded by the county, Muranishi stressed, and a crucial investment in the county’s health care and safety net infrastructure.

The first phase of the project, the Highland Care Pavilion, broke ground in 2010 and was completed three years later.

Alameda County receives about $90 million annually in Measure AA tax funds, about 75 percent of which help fund Alameda Health System.

 Edited on June 14, 2018.