The Coast News Group
NewsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe

Tri-City gets new earthquake rating

OCEANSIDE — Tri-City Healthcare District was recently notified by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, or OSHPD, that the hospital’s Center Tower has successfully passed a reassessment evaluation process and has been re-rated to SPC-2. An SPC – 2 rating extends the deadline to 2030 to comply with seismic safety provisions.
Before the new classification, the Center Tower was rated SPC-1 by OSHPD, therefore faced closure in 2013.
“This means that Tri-City will not only stay open, but has breathing room to adequately plan for seismic upgrades and expansion for the future growth of North County,” said Larry Anderson, interim CEO of Tri-City Medical Center, who traveled to Sacramento in recent months to meet with OSHPD officials to identify specific issues with the buildings and identify the appropriate course of action. Under State of California Senate Bill 1953, all acute-care facilities in the state are under deadline to comply with current seismic safety codes by 2013 or be faced with closure. The purpose of S.B. 1953 is to ensure that these structures are able to withstand a moderate to major earthquake of 5.5 or higher.
OSHPD rates a structure’s collapse risk through a comprehensive computer program called HAZUS, and the rating determines what the deadline for compliance will be.
Previously, Tri-City had three structures that were deemed a collapse risk by OSHPD and rated SPC-1, the lowest rating. These buildings were the Center Tower, the South Tower and the South Tower stairwell, all located on the Oceanside campus. Until recently, engineering consultants had advised that these buildings had a very narrow chance of being re-rated through the HAZUS reassessment to allow for a deadline extension.
Under Anderson’s leadership, in recent months, Tri-City submitted to OSHPD core samples of the Center Tower’s walls and floors to be assessed for structural integrity. After examination, OSHPD re-rated the structure to SPC-2, granting an extension until 2030 for compliance. The third structure, the South Tower stairwell, will likely not be re-rated therefore will have to be replaced or retrofitted before 2013.
Earlier in the year, North County Assembly Members Martin Garrick and Diane Harkey authored a bill that would have extended Tri-City’s seismic requirements until 2020. That bill unanimously passed the Assembly June 2, and was scheduled to be heard by the Senate Health Committee on July 1. Due to the new SPC-2 rating, that bill is now unnecessary.
“I am pleased that there has been a resolution for Tri-City,” Assemblyman Martin Garrick said. “Most importantly, the tests affirm the facility is safe and will remain open to serve the residents of North County.”