Sutter Health, Eden Medical Center
Landscape Architecture

By Digby Christian, Project Team Leader

We are proud to tell you that on April 7, 2009, the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley (SMCCV) project team received the 2008 FIATECH CETI Award at the award gala held in Las Vegas.

FIATECH is an industry consortium within the building industry. Its primary mission is to get all the “players” involved in capital projects to adopt new ways of thinking and new technologies to deliver higher value for the funders and end-users of construction projects.

Here is why our team won the award…

As most of our readers know, California’s deadline for retrofitting or building earthquake-proof hospitals from scratch is 2013, less than four years from now. The hospital project in its current form was validated as viable in August 2007, and design work was authorized to start in October of that year, leaving us just over five years to have the building be ready and open for business. Typically, in California, it takes at least seven years for a project of this magnitude.

So the team had to throw out all historical concepts of how design is done and come together as a wide-ranging, multi-company team involving the owner, the designers and the builders, and transform the design and construction process to drive two years out of the schedule. The team is now on track to achieve just that and did it primarily by redesigning the design process in a rigorous and unrelenting fashion, so that it no longer bears any real resemblance to tradition!

If you are familiar with the classic design process, you’ll know that it’s typically abbreviated as “SD-DD-CD”: Schematic Design (broad concepts typically discussed and agreed to by the owner and the architect exclusively); Design Development (often a General Contractor might have some involvement in this); and Construction Drawings (some trades might be brought on board to inform how these are put together). Then, the work goes out to the building community and those companies develop what are known as Shop Drawings. These drawings show in detail how every little and large item in the building will be fabricated, i.e., the structural elements, including steel, metal, glass, concrete, etc.

On the SMCCV project, all of the people who typically are brought in at the end are already on board, and most of them have been on board since August 2007. By the time this project completes its approval process through the County and State we will already be at the Shop Drawing stage. The building is being designed for fabrication now, while the design approval process is underway.

While this concept has been discussed for the last few years within the industry, and parts of the above have been implemented on other projects, no project has implemented this concept as broadly and as deeply as the SMCCV project; certainly not on a project this large and this complex. It is one of the reasons our project won the FIATECH award!

The other primary reason we won the award is because of how thoroughly the building has been designed in three dimensions (as opposed to the typical two dimensional paper drawings we are used to seeing). There are many very attractive shots of 3D design that you can find on websites, and in trade magazines but you can’t tell if the designs are any good—all you know is they look “cool.” But on the SMCCV project, we bring the entire team together at least every two weeks to work through the coordination effort. It’s painstaking and difficult, but utterly critical to a successful outcome in a shorter timeframe.

What is not often understood outside the industry, and to some extent even within the industry, is that different design disciplines use different software, and they can’t see each other’s work in real time while they are designing. Each company has to either import a converted file of each other’s work or send both files to a third package, such as Autodesk Navisworks, to see both designs at the same time. So it’s all too easy to have a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, three dimensional design—no different in fact than having a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, two dimensional design.

In addition, we have focused the team on the larger goal of designing for fabrication rather than the industry convention of designing to produce the construction documentation, which is then coordinated by the construction team. The team’s goal to design for fabrication means we are swimming against the tide. We are allowing our companies to each use their own best-in-class software and then developing a process that allows a high level of coordination and constructability to ensure that what is being designed is actually what we will build.

The above might seem dry and technical; however, by a) having a multi-company team involving all the construction trades from day one; b) throwing out the baggage of a poor design process and starting from scratch to build a better one; and c) having a goal of designing for fabrication will allow us to build a new hospital on schedule, within budget, and without any last minute compromises on the finished product.

On the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project, we are breaking new ground ahead of any other project in the country in the way such projects are handled. That, in essence is the reason why the team that is building your hospital won the 2008 FIATECH CETI Award.

In addition to the Sutter Health project team, I want to personally thank The Devenney Group, DPR Construction, Capital Engineering, The Engineering Enterprise, TMAD Taylor & Gaines, GHAFARI Associates, J W McClenahan, Morrow Meadows, Superior Air Handling, MPS Project Management, Navigant Consulting, Greenwood & Moore Engineering, Herrick Steel, Otis Elevators, Strategic Project Solutions, Royal Glass, Clark Pacific, Candela, Sparling, and numerous other specialty trade vendors for making it possible to receive this award—and to meet our 2013 deadline!

For all you construction buffs, or for anyone who is interested, check out FIATECH at

I welcome your questions and comments!


Campus View from Main Entry

By Jeff Moore, Co-Owner, Greenwood & Moore, Inc., Engineering Firm

My name is Jeff Moore. I’m the “Moore” of Greenwood & Moore, Inc. We’re a multi-disciplined engineering firm specializing in civil engineering, land surveying, architectural/structural design, and land use planning. We’ve been in business in Castro Valley for over 40 years.

As civil engineers, we are responsible for the entire site design of Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley. With an effective site design, pedestrians and vehicles can safely and efficiently access the hospital. As land surveyors, we’re the people you see in the streets with tripods and surveying equipment measuring the location and elevation of things like curbs, gutters, streets, trees, etc. We are also responsible for locating the property lines around the new hospital.

Greenwood & Moore is honored to have been selected as the prime Civil Engineering and Land Surveying firm for the new Sutter Medical Cente Castro Valley. We have been providing professional design and engineering services for the existing hospital for over 20 years. The previous work that Greenwood & Moore performed for Eden Hospital for so many years allows us to have an out-of-the-ordinary perspective on the new hospital’s requirements.

For the hospital’s new design our firm is responsible for civil engineering tasks that include the grading plan (pipes and storm drains), parking lots, site design and circulation, site utilities (sewer, water, electrical, etc), and coordination for the Environmental Impact Report.

It is very exciting to work on this project because of the complexity involved in constructing a new hospital while the existing hospital remains in place. And personally, I find it professionally stimulating to work with such an experienced, top-notch management team.

I am proud to have served as a Trustee for the Eden Medical Foundation for last 4+ years. My wife, Beth, and I co-chaired the Eden Medical Foundation’s Spring Gala 2006-2007.

We live in Castro Valley with our children, Ellie, who is five years old and Sean, who is three years old. Both kids were born at Eden Medical Center. Beth and I are active in the community through the Castro Valley Rotary Club and the Castro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Because we live and work in Castro Valley, our association with Sutter Health and the new hospital is more than “just a job;” it impacts our lives personally.

Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post or ask questions about the engineering aspects of the new medical center, and I’ll be glad to respond within a day or two.

Neighbors and Community Members at October 22, 2008 Launch Event

Neighbors and Community Members at October 22, 2008 Launch Event

By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

On October 22, 2008, we invited the community—and particularly the neighbors—around Eden Medical Center to come to the hospital to learn about the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project. We had representatives from the hospital, Devenney Group (the architectural team), Sutter Health, the social media team, and others available to meet our neighbors, hear their feedback and answer their questions. We’ll be posting video clips from the event in the next few days, so keep an eye on our Video Gallery and the featured video box in the right sidebar.

The good news was that the project was well-received, with high praise for the design and sensitivity to the community. We had great questions asked of us, and excellent comments for us to consider as we move ahead (regarding traffic patterns, noise abatement and other important concerns). While we had a very active and interested audience, we hope even more people in the community will join us at future events we plan to host in the coming year. Keep reading this blog, because we’ll announce upcoming community events here.

We realize that people are very busy, and going to the hospital isn’t something most people like to do even when they are healthy! So, we plan to take our presentation on the road, attending events and meetings to hear what folks have to say. We’ll post any future meeting dates and times in our News Room. And, of course, we will use this new blog site to reach a much wider audience, particularly those who live in our community who may not otherwise get involved.

There is a misperception that the people in Castro Valley, San Leandro, Hayward and beyond are not too familiar with social networks, blogs and all the new ways to communicate with each other over the Internet. I hope to change that perception by grabbing new readers and subscribers in our area and far beyond.

So, think of this site as our community meeting. Stay informed. Subscribe to this blog to get regular updates by email or RSS feed. Tell us what you think by commenting on individual posts. Together, we have a great opportunity to shape the future of our medical center.

Main Entrance

By Andrew Flanigan, Senior Planner/Designer with Devenney Group

Hello, my name is Andrew Flanigan, Senior Planner/Designer with Devenney Group. We are the architectural firm commissioned to design the new Sutter Medical Center in Castro Valley. My role with the project is lead project designer, and right now I’m working with the team to help get the plans ready for approval by all authorities, from state to county to municipal regulatory boards, so we can begin construction. I wanted to first give you a glimpse of what the new medical center is going to look like.

The new replacement hospital will be an iconic building that reflects modern technology and the latest standards in healthcare. Because it will be built on the same hill as Eden Medical Center, the new hospital will be the focal point of the surrounding area. Through the design on which the project team had input, we reduced the scale of the building by integrating it with the hillside, and by creating a horizontal feel to the architecture.

The hospital bed tower, which will be seven stories high, will be the most prominent element of the campus. Through extensive shadow and massing studies, the current design reflects the most efficient form and orientation to minimize impacts on our surrounding neighbors.

Other design features were incorporated to enhance the site as well as screen back of house functions from the neighborhood, such as where trucks unload supplies. These outdoor features consist of a living wall, a fully landscaped visual and noise buffer, as well as outdoor gathering spaces.

The outdoor gardens will be available for patients, visitors, doctors, hospital staff and also the community. The latest sustainable landscaping techniques will be used throughout the campus. The main outdoor gathering space will be located on the lower level just outside the cafeteria, and allows for outdoor dining, rest and contemplation. The design also incorporates several more intimate outdoor spaces throughout the site.

The exterior of the building provides a light and airy feel with the use of natural and long lasting earth toned materials as well as different color glass to add vibrancy to the tower element. The high efficiency tinted glazing enables us to maximize windows in all patient rooms to enhance the healing environment.

The new medical office building, which will be four stories high, is designed to complement the new hospital in form and function. The hospital and medical office building are connected on four stories using open walkways so patients, physicians and staff can easily move between the two buildings.

Whether it is a routine clinic visit or a scheduled major surgery, the campus becomes a one-stop-shop for all medical needs; a healthcare destination for the community. Please see our Photo Gallery for more illustrations of the new medical center, plus we’ll be adding new ones, so keep visiting here. You may want to subscribe to this blog for regular updates.

I am very excited to be sharing this first glimpse of the building with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment here, with your questions or feedback, in our effort to make the design better!

Jesus Armas

By Jesús Armas, Government Affairs Liaison

Hello, my name is Jesus Armas. My role with this project is to work with numerous governmental agencies to get the green light to enable Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley to be constructed.

This is an exciting and new experience for me. For three decades, I worked for a number of California cities and was involved in reviewing various projects as they were presented to those cities for approval. In this case, though, my role is reversed, and I’m on the side trying to get a project approved. Definitely a new experience… and quite an eye-opener.

As you learn more about the project, I’m sure you will agree that not only is this project critically important to the community, but is also beautiful. In a nutshell, the project consists of a new hospital and medical office building, and related aesthetic and landscape improvements on the campus. Clearly, it represents a substantial commitment by the Sutter Health organization to Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro and adjoining communities that comprise the Eden Campus area.

A project of this scope and complexity only gets approved after it is thoroughly evaluated by various agencies. Typically, approvals are granted by local government bodies, such as a City Council or County Board of Supervisors. In this instance, however, because a hospital is involved, approvals must also be obtained from the State of California. Each level of government has jurisdiction over different aspects of the project—the State for the hospital, the County for the medical office building.

As part of the evaluation process, it is necessary to identify any potential impacts, such as traffic, noise, etc., associated with the project and to indicate how those impacts will be addressed…or “mitigated.” This assessment is documented through the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Once the DEIR is prepared, it is available for public review and comment for a period of 45 days. After the comment periods ends, a second or Final EIR is prepared that responds to all the comments submitted by interested individuals, organizations or agencies. The information contained in the FEIR is intended to help the decision makers, ultimately your elected officials (Board of Supervisors), decide whether or not to approve the project.

Before it even gets to the Board, however, Sutter will be presenting the project to both the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) and the County Planning Commission to gain their input and comments. In fact, Sutter has already attended two meetings of the MAC to obtain feedback and guidance on the project. Sutter is committed to working cooperatively with affected agencies to ensure that the project in its final form is one that we can all take pride in, and reflects positively on the community.

Here are some important dates for you to keep in mind:

  • The Draft EIR is expected to be released and available for public review around mid-November, with the comment period lasting until approximately the end of the year.
  • The Final EIR will be prepared thereafter.
  • It is our goal to have the MAC and County Planning Commission formally consider the project during the first quarter of 2009.
  • Assuming we meet this timeframe, the project, including the FEIR, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors next Spring.

I certainly want to hear from you about this project. I invite you to keep returning to this site to get the most current information about the project, and dates for various public meetings. But most of all, I invite you to send me your thoughts, comments and questions about this important community asset.

Campus View from Main Entry By Randy DeValle, Landscape Architect for the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley

I guess you could say I am about as home grown a design team member as can be, having lived in Castro Valley since 1959. My family moved here when I just four years old. My mother still lives right up Stanton, just a little past Eden Medical Center. My name is Randy DeValle, and I am the Landscape Architect for the new hospital project.

I remember riding my Sting Ray bicycle, complete with banana seat, past Eden Medical Center every Saturday morning, as my buddies and I would scrounge for pop bottles. We would turn them in for money. Then, off to Foster Freeze for a frosty, and Value World to buy fishing lures.

I attended Stanton Elementary School, A.B. Morris Junior High (yes, I still see Mr. Kerr, our principal, about town) and graduated from Castro Valley High in 1972. I was a proud Spartan, ran for the best coach in Castro Valley High history, Norm Guest, and was a member of the inaugural high school soccer team. I remember Fifi’s Toy Store, Sakamoto Hill, and getting chased off of King’s Hill.

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Landscape Architecture, I spent a few years working in landscape construction. Then in January 1986, I put out my shingle right here in Castro Valley. My wife and I raised our two children in this valley. They too, graduated from CVHS, as Trojans (I’ll never get over that name change, ugh! Hail, Spartans).

Eden Medical Center has been a part of my family’s lives over the years. I have spent countless hours waiting in the emergency room talking to the night guard or watching that tiny TV in the corner. My wife (then girlfriend) introduced her mother to my mother for the first time up on the fourth floor when I was a patient there.

Eden has been present for so many of my years it will be somewhat strange not seeing the ol’ girl up on the hill…but I can say with all conviction, the new hospital is going to be beautiful. Devenney Group, the project architecture firm, has designed a remarkable building.

I am just thrilled to be a member of the design team. As the project landscape architect, it will be my responsibility to work with the project civil engineer and architect. I will be selecting all the plant varieties and designing the unique outdoor spaces.

These spaces will include a garden, with shade trees, servicing the hospital café. But it will be more than an eating area. There will be space to sit, read a book, and carry on a conversation. We are also planning another garden area adjacent to the parking garage and new medical office building, which will serve as a demonstration and contemplation garden.

Besides being a place of respite and serenity, the garden will host myriad plant species for the home gardener. We hope to develop a demonstration garden, emphasizing California natives, where a person can come and view some lovely specimens. The garden will be complete with seating areas, a shade structure and pathways. Also on the menu are roof gardens, water features and plenty of other greenery.

This is a LEED project. I will not reiterate the subtleties of LEED, but in its basic sense, plants must be akin to our climate, we must use water judiciously and wisely, use recycled materials and quite frankly, just use good old fashion horse sense. It is my hope to open portions of the landscape, which traditionally have just been functional. As much as possible, I want the landscape to also be a learning experience.

I truly believe, when the ribbon is cut, we locals will be amazed at the aesthetics, the attention to detail and overall, we’ll marvel at the new Sutter Health hospital up on the hill.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the landscape architecture, and feel free to leave a comment in the comment box. We welcome your input!

Subscribe By Email

  • Subscribe to our blog!
    Enter your email address:

  • See our live WebCam!


    Our construction WebCam is live, 24 hours a day (ok, so you may not see anything at night!). Go to the SMCCV WebCam now.
  • Welcome To Our Blog

    We have launched a Social Media outreach program, using the Web to keep you informed about our progress in building the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, a Sutter Health affiliate, which will eventually replace Eden Medical Center. We want to provide you with a forum to interact with us so we can address your questions and concerns.

    Our blog will serve as your Internet "headquarters," where you can find updated information, plus you'll find links to other popular online social networks (see below), where we have started groups and online communities for further discussion about the new medical center.

    We hope you'll subscribe by email or RSS feed. Please go to the "Subscribe by Email" box or the orange RSS icon above. The blog will be updated frequently.

    We look forward to hearing from you and starting a conversation! Please feel free to comment at the bottom of any of the posts. We will respond.

  • Favor our Blog!

    Add to Technorati Favorites

  • Now in Alltop Health!

    Featured in Alltop

  • Featured Video

  • Watch more videos

  • On Social Networks