Sierra Medical Center, region’s first hospital in 100 years, remains on schedule |

Sierra Medical Center, region’s first hospital in 100 years, remains on schedule

A rendering of the Sierra Medical Center, which will include 350,000 square feet of hospital and medical office space, that is projected to open in South Reno in 2022.
Photo: Courtesy Northern Nevada Medical Center

COVID-19 Impacts?

This story is adapted from the Spring 2020 edition Peak NV, a specialty magazine produced by the Nevada News Group and its member publications, including the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

Since the story was filed in early March, we reached out to Alan Olive, CEO of the new Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center, in late March to ask if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may impact or delay any facets of construction.

Olive responded with the following:

“Sierra Medical Center is on track to meet all existing deadlines, and we anticipate placing steel in mid-April. We do not foresee any significant schedule changes at this time. Our construction team, SR Construction, continues to work on the project and has implemented new safety protocols related to COVID-19.

"Our main goal is the safety and well-being of the workers on this project, and we have taken every measure to ensure our practices align with these goals.”

RENO, Nev. — With the population and job creation booming in Reno-Sparks and Las Vegas, Nevada has consistently ranked high on national lists of healthiest economies in the United States.

When it comes to literal healthcare, however, the Silver State’s outlook is not quite as sunny.

In fact, in a 2019 scorecard released by the Commonwealth Fund, Nevada ranked 48th in the nation for overall healthcare. The report scored the Silver State at 50th for access and affordability, 51st for prevention and treatment, 38th for avoidable hospital use and cost and 39th for the healthiness of its residents’ lifestyles.

This comes at a time when Northern Nevada is growing at an especially rapid clip. All told, Reno-Sparks’ population is projected to increase by more than 100,000 residents over the next 10 years, according to the Northern Nevada Economic Planning Indicators Committee.

These glaring figures illustrate why Northern Nevada Health System is bringing the region its first hospital in 100 years: Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center (SMC).

“This investment isn’t just about a hospital, it’s about a full, complete health system of care that invests in our community’s health to get them access to care at a good cost, at the best quality,” Alan Olive, CEO of Sierra Medical Center, said in a February interview. “Obviously, primary care is a core piece that we’re adding that. If you think about people’s health and wellness, the lack of access to primary care reduces the availability for preventive care, so that’s a key piece.

“And then obviously the access to emergency rooms or beds.”

In all, NNHS — which is an affiliate of Northern Nevada Medical Center, the 108-bed acute care hospital in Sparks — says the new Sierra Medical Center will feature the following comprehensive services: emergency care, orthopedics, surgical services, labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care, oncology, cardiovascular and neurological services. Outpatient services will also be provided.

Projected to open its doors in early 2022, SMC — which broke ground in February — is being built on a patch of land at Double R Boulevard and Longley Lane in South Reno.

The campus will feature 350,000 square feet of hospital and medical office space, including 200 private patient rooms, according to NNHS.

Olive stressed that the design of the new SMC facility will make it easy to navigate, inside and out, citing directional views and plentiful staff to help guide patients and visitors.

“Sometimes you have older hospitals where you get lost right when you walk in the door,” Olive said. “People will be able to park close to the facility, and it’ll be very simple to navigate inside the facility.”

Las Vegas-based SR Construction is leading the construction of Sierra Medical Center, which began this month upon arrival of steel on the property.

The project, Olive said, is estimated to create between 12,000 and 15,000 construction jobs. Once completed, SMC is projecting to staff around 900 healthcare workers at the onset and “then grow more jobs as we expand,” he said.