AKA: Sequoia Healthcare District, Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - hospitals

Designers: Parker, Steffens and Pearce, General Contractors (firm); Stone and Mulloy, Architects (firm); Louis Belden Mulloy (architect); Parker (building contractor); Norman William Patterson (architect); F. Owen Pearce (building contractor); Steffens (building contractor); Douglas Dacre Stone (architect)

Dates: constructed 1949-1950

170 Alameda de las Pulgas
Redwood City, CA 94062

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

Building History

By the late 1930s, citizens of the rapidly expanding town of Redwood City voted to improve city facilities, including a new city hall and library. Lobbying for a new community hospital also began at this time, but not enough public money could be raised before the advent of World War II. Voters in Redwood City passed a referendum creating the Sequoia Hospital District (SHD) in 1946, and bond issues funding the construction of Sequoia Hospital passed soon thereafter. Work began in 1949, and concluded with a dedication ceremony on 12/15/1950. Intake of the first patient occurred ten days later.

The district operated independently from 1950 until 1995, when two years of significant deficits forced the district to seek a merger with an asset-rich healthcare concern. Three organizations--Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation. Adventist Health System/West Incorporated, and Catholic Healthcare West--became possible suitors. In the end, the choice came down to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation and Catholic Healthcare West, the former a for-profit business, the latter a non-profit entity. Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) was selected by the Sequoia Hospital District and its decision ratified by the voters. An administrative board composed of half CHW representatives and half from SHD was formed, and the former agreed to pay $30 million to a new organization, the Sequoia Healthcare District. Lawsuits were filed subsequently questioning the continuing mandate of the Sequoia Healthcare District to levy property taxes.

Following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the CA state legislature passed the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Act (1994), also known as Senate Bill (SB) 1953, that required the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, part of the State of California Health and Human Services Agency, to rate the state's 470 general acute care hospitals built after 03/07/1973 on a one-to-five scale for seismic safety. Of the 2,673 hospital component buildings surveyed, several on the Sequoia Hospital campus received one ratings. This put Sequoia in violation of the new act, significantly worsening the hospital's fiscal position. This bill updated the 1974 Seismic Safety Act, passed after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake destroyed several hospitals in southern CA. The 1994 bill "...amended the Act to address the issues of survivability of both nonstructural and structural components of hospital buildings after a seismic event. Therefore, the ultimate public safety benefit of the Act is to have general acute care hospital buildings that not only are capable of remaining intact after a seismic event, but also capable of continued operation and provision of acute care medical services after a seismic event." (See State of California, Health and Human Services Agency, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, "Seismic Compliance Program Overview," accessed 10/27/2015,) The results of this bill have caused massive financial repercussions, costing billions of dollars.

Some hospitals have been granted exemptions by the legislature for good faith efforts in retrofitting. "Subsequent legislation has provided for additional seismic compliance extensions. The final date by which all hospitals must comply is January 1, 2020. In order to grant an extension to the hospital, the Office must consider the structural integrity of the building, the loss of essential healthcare services to the community should the hospital be closed, and the financial hardship that the hospital may have experienced." (See State of California, Health and Human Services Agency, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, "Seismic Compliance Program Overview," accessed 10/27/2015,) Sequoia Hopsital was granted retrofitting extensions on Buildings 1 and 2 until 07/01/2015, and Buildings 6,8,9, and 10 until 09/01/2015.


A hospital addition was made in 1955; Patterson indicated that the design began in 1949, with an addition in 1955; Mulloy said the design began in 1952. (See John Gane, Ed., American Architects Directory, 1970, [New York: R.R. Bowker, 1956], p. 423 and 395.)

PCAD id: 953