Hospital to open new parking lot |

Hospital to open new parking lot

Eileen JoyceConstruction continues on an employee parking lot at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s employees will have access to 160 new parking spaces behind the main building starting next month.

While employees and visitors to the hospital concede it won’t end the parking shortages at the 121-bed facility, many are hopeful the lot will end some of the parking frustration at the hospital.

“If you come to the hospital after 8 a.m., you’re pretty much out of luck,” said hospital groundskeeper Joe Rockholt.

In many cases, patients must park in doctors’ spots and vice versa, because of the shortage.

The parking lot is an ongoing part of the hospital’s master plan to build on 18 acres it owns next to the current campus. The evolving master plan includes building a proposed diagnostic imaging center for mammograms, X-rays and a blood-drawing center; increasing the number of in-patient hospital rooms; and expansion of the emergency department to 150 beds.

The plan should be brought before Grass Valley planning officials in a few months, hospital spokesman Gary Cooke said.

The $1.2 million parking lot may end up being one of the smallest parts of the proposed $60 million expansion over the next several years.

“Parking is at the very core of the hospital’s master plan,” Cooke said.

With the new lot, he said there will be a net gain of 80 additional spaces for patients and 60 for employees.

The completion of the parking lot means that much of a lot fronting Glasson Way can be given to patients. “This frees up parking closest to the hospital for them,” Cooke said.

He said SNMH had plans to build a parking garage several years ago, but that was scrapped in favor of the lot now under construction.

Facility engineer Larry Day said patients will probably see immediate improvements. “Now we won’t have to watch patients constantly circling the parking lot.”

The original hospital opened in 1958, and has been through two major expansions, the last in 1995 when the Outpatient Center was built.

Much of the hospital’s expansion is tied to a proposed Dorsey Drive interchange off the Golden Center Freeway. If the $16.3 million interchange is approved, the hospital’s main entrance would be moved from Glasson Way, a narrow two-lane street that fronts the facility, to Hughes Road.

The earliest that construction on the interchange would start is 2006, according to local transportation officials.

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