Sutter Gould building on track

The steel frame is up for the four-story Sutter Gould Medical Foundation center at Coffee Road and Lucern Avenue.
The steel frame is up for the four-story Sutter Gould Medical Foundation center at Coffee Road and Lucern Avenue. Modesto Bee

Most residential building in the area has ground to a halt, but one bright spot in the construction industry is the health care field.

The brief return of sunshine Monday allowed work to continue on the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation center at Coffee Road and Lucern Avenue in Modesto, though the rain returned Tuesday.

"Until (the storms), the weather was very favorable," said Craig Baize, marketing manager for Sutter Gould. "The crews have fallen behind about a week, but they have plans to catch up."

He added that the project is within its $60.4 million budget.

Since work began in May, Escalon-based general contractor C.T. Brayton and Sons has erected the steel frame of the four-story building, which looms over the east side of the complex, at 600 Coffee Road.

Construction workers will build the concrete decking this week if weather permits, Baize said.

Sutter Gould serves about 100 patients an hour at its current complex, and those patients continue to see their doctors in the older building, which faces Coffee Road. During construction, Sutter Gould is providing parking for patients and staff on the south side of Lucern Avenue.

The new building will replace the Gould Medical Group building constructed in the 1950s. Gould physicians had made additions to the center over the years. In 1993, they merged with Sacramento-based Sutter Health, which is financing the new center.

The 132,000-square-foot center will be more than 30 percent larger. It will have a bigger urgent care clinic, larger waiting areas, and bigger facilities for radiology and occupational medicine.

Sutter Gould also is expanding on-site and off-site parking, and the city is requiring intersection improvements at Coffee and Lucern.

Baize said the new building should be complete in spring 2009. When patients start using the new center, the old one will be torn down and parking spaces put in its place. The effort should be completed in the latter months of 2009.

Although the new building is larger, Sutter Gould said it mainly will provide the same health care services without a significant increase in patients using the center.

Sutter Gould has more than 200 physicians serving patients in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Patterson, Tracy, Stockton and Lodi. It is affiliated with Memorial Medical Center of Modesto, a hospital that completed its $170 million North Tower expansion in 2007.

In other health care projects, Emanuel Medical Center of Turlock opened a $30 million critical care center in January, Kaiser Permanente plans to open its north Modesto hospital in October, and Oak Valley Hospital in Oakdale is in the process of replacing its facility.

Baize said Sutter Gould isn't ready to announce additional projects.

"I know there are further capital improvement plans and replacement plans," he said. "There are always plans to improve our services for patients."

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or 578-2321.