Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center on Sept. 24 unveiled plans to build a new patient care tower to serve as the hub for a $215 million campus makeover near downtown.

See related story "Medical Makeover: California Hospital is Pouring $215 Million Into Downtown Campus"

The 131-year-old medical center expects to break ground in the first quarter of next year on a four-story, 345-bed hospital tower in South Park. It will replace an aging tower to be turned into an outpatient building in lieu of a costly seismic retrofit.

Executives say the new 150,460 square-foot tower building will enhance access and capacity for its emergency, trauma and maternity services.

“The new patient care tower is vitally important in helping us continue our mission and tradition of serving our unique patient populations and creating healthier communities,” said Margaret R. Peterson, president of the hospital owned by health care consortium Dignity Health, in a statement.

Peterson said the expansion, fueled by the latest in technology and innovation would enable California Hospital Medical Center to recruit top talent as well as accept more medical residents and nursing students.

The $205 million tower – with 27 more beds overall than the current facility – will house larger, state-of-the-art emergency and trauma departments. Last year, the hospital saw 85,000 patients in an ER equipped to accommodate 55,000.

It will also house an enhanced neonatal intensive care unit, labor and delivery, as well as enhanced postpartum services and private rooms. The hospital is home to 3,600 lives births a year.

The top floor of the new tower will be reserved for further expansion. The $215 million expansion will include a new pediatrics unit on the sixth floor of the existing Tibbitts Tower, an emergency mental health observation center, and a new parking garage with 8,000 square feet of ground-level shops for cafes, gift shops and other businesses.

The makeover project, expected to be completed in 2020, will be funded through $40 million from San Francisco-based Dignity Health, a $125 million loan and $50 million raised by California Hospital.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.