Kaiser Permanente began construction Friday on a new hospital in Panorama City designed to meet new seismic standards, officials said.
The new building, one of 11 Kaiser Permanente hospitals currently being planned or built in Southern California, would replace an existing 41-year-old facility on Cantara Street at Woodman Avenue. It is slated for completion in 2007.
Hundreds of California hospitals are expected to undergo some form of construction in the next two decades to meet two sets of statewide seismic standards that become effective in 2008 and 2030, according to an industry expert.
"About 95% of all hospitals are expected to spend $24 billion to restore, retrofit or completely replace existing facilities," said Jim Lott, a spokesman for the Hospital Assn. of Southern California, a trade group representing more than 300 hospitals and hospital systems.
"Kaiser is jumping ahead by meeting the 2030 standards now with the building of this new facility," Lott said.
The new 404,000-square-foot, six-story hospital will feature a neonatal intensive care unit, surgical suites, an upgraded computer system and an image-archiving system that will eliminate the need to store traditional X-ray films, officials said.
The current hospital will have limited use once the new building opens, officials said.