Building more than Character

NorthBay’s Biggest Accomplishment Exceeds Expectations

In 17 years at NorthBay Healthcare, Assistant Vice President Real Estate & Facilities Development Joelyn Gropp has led the design of eight new buildings and scores of remodels and tenant improvements. But, without a doubt, the $200 million North Wing takes the crown.

The North Wing’s construction management team includes (left to right) Frederica Gordon, Joelyn Gropp and Annemarie Golz. Not pictured is Eric Van Pelt.

It was easily the largest project, both physically and financially. The North Wing, in fact, was the final piece of a three-phase modernization that included a new Welcome Pavilion and a larger, improved Emergency Department at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield.

It became NorthBay Healthcare’s most technologically advanced project, too. Not only did it require acquisition of the state-of-the-art equipment for surgical suites, Central Sterile and Diagnostic Imaging, but it also puts technology right in the hands of the patients with the GetWellNetwork. It’s a computer-based app with a monitor at the bedside that will eventually be installed in every patient room at NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital.

The modern aesthetics of the building was designed by architects at Ratcliff and built by DPR Construction to reflect the advanced medicine within its walls.

“They created a soothing and healing environment,” explained Joelyn, “due in part to the extensive use of windows and artwork. Floor to ceiling windows enhance hallways and patient rooms, allowing natural light in and views out to the landscaping. Special attention was paid to acoustics to provide a quiet and calming environment.”

A neutral palette of finish materials was selected to highlight diverse and colorful artwork by Northern California artists throughout the facility. Pickett Design and Art Consulting Services helped create the interior look and feel, said Joelyn.

“As a result, the North Wing brings NorthBay into the 21st century.”

— Joelyn Gropp

One of the biggest challenges for every project is managing change, said Joelyn. During the past three years, she’s had to navigate everything from personnel and code changes to new architects, technology and cost. And speaking of cost, she’s proud to note that the project came in $8 million under budget, even with the decision to bring on a $2 million da Vinci robot.

Joining her team to help were project development managers Eric VanPelt and Annemarie Golz.

“Eric established a culture of controlling cost and limiting change orders at the start,” said Joelyn. “And Annemarie did an excellent job managing the fit-out of the building and getting people moved in, assisted by Frederica Gordon, a master in anything move-related and whose magic touch made the landscaping sparkle.”

The best part, says Joelyn, is bringing an enduring, sophisticated new hospital building to the community.

“It is a challenge to bring together people as diverse as architectural designers, nuts-and-bolts builders, physicians, politicians, and financiers. But when they focus on a common goal, great things can happen,” said Joelyn. “As a result, the North Wing brings NorthBay into the 21st century. We have taken a huge step in realizing our future by replacing an aging facility with a modern, safe, state-of-the-art healthcare ecosystem.”

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