About the Project

Since the 1970s, healthcare leaders and local advocates have made attempts to build a children’s hospital in San Jose. As the city grew to the most populous in the Bay Area, the need became more acute. Today, San Jose is the largest city in the U.S. without a free-standing children’s hospital.

With the right support, that will change.

About ImagineVMC

After a decade-long, billion dollar effort to modernize the main Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) campus, there now exists a creative, cost-effective solution to San Jose’s children’s hospital problem. By repurposing the current Main Hospital building and expanding existing service lines, SCVMC can build a Women and Children’s Center to serve hundreds of thousands of area residents.

SCVMC has a long tradition of providing nationally recognized care to women and children. It has served as the de-facto children’s hospital of the South Bay for generations. As Silicon Valley’s public safety net hospital and trauma center, SCVMC is uniquely suited to provide the highest level of care to vulnerable populations. And no other system provides more care to the Valley’s low income communities than SCVMC, serving 1 in 4 local residents.

In partnership with the County of Santa Clara, the Valley Medical Center Foundation and Silicon Valley Creates have launched a historic fundraising campaign to bring a Women and Children’s Center into reality. The public-private partnership will finance a major overhaul to an existing hospital building and allow SCVMC to expand critical maternal health, cancer screening and pediatric services. Not only can the project be completed at a fraction of the cost of new construction, the new Women and Children’s Center will also strengthen SCVMC’s financial ability to maintain its safety net role in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.


  • Invest $50 million in public and private dollars to convert an existing 300,000 square foot inpatient facility to a Women and Children’s Center
  • Major public art initiative will transform existing building into a welcoming, magical environment that conforms to standards of modern children’s hospitals, with focus on family and play areas
  • Creation of Breast Health Center for centralized screening and prevention services
  • New post-partum mother-baby unit
  • Expansion of pediatric rehabilitation program with new indoor and outdoor therapy areas
  • Based on a business model that will help SCVMC attract and retain insured patients so that it can sustain emergency, safety net and other critical services


Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics is the public health delivery system for Santa Clara County, California. It includes SCMVC, a 574-bed acute care teaching hospital and research institution, as well as community-based clinics throughout Santa Clara County. SCVMC provides health services to 1 in 4 County residents and has an open door policy that guarantees everyone access to care, regardless of ability to pay. The majority of SCVMC patients are low-income and rely on public programs for coverage and access. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics is owned and operated by the County of Santa Clara and affiliated with the Stanford University School of Medicine. The Valley Medical Center Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the fundraising and community engagement arm of SCVMC. Since 2003, the organization has raised more than $80 million in support of critical health programs and services. Silicon Valley Creates is a network of leaders who care about the cultural and aesthetic quality of life in Silicon Valley. SV Creates will lead a process to infuse the SCVMC Women and Children’s Center with art and exhibits that create opportunities for gathering, reflection, healing and play.

What services for women and children does SCVMC already provide?

Through a network of community-based clinics, SCVMC sees 125,000 primary care and 100,000 ob/gyn patient visits annually. More than 3,500 babies are born at SCVMC each year, and because the hospital specializes in high-risk deliveries, nearly 10% of those babies receive care in the Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Babies born at SCVMC with major morbidities have some of the highest survival rates in the State of California.  SCVMC operates the only stand-alone Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in San Jose, and its Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center provides life-saving emergency care. From burns to major spinal cord injuries, SCVMC provides care to kids that other local health centers cannot. And as one of the safest hospitals in California to deliver a baby, SCVMC is a leader in quality care.

How will care improve?

Children’s hospitals are not just the adult counterpart in miniature – they are unique entities unto themselves. An ICU room for a premature infant looks and functions nothing like the adult equivalent, just like a patient recuperating from childbirth has different needs than someone recovering from a major illness or injury. While the building that will house the Women and Children’s Center is a modern facility, much of it was designed for general, adult use. A redesign is necessary to improve existing operations and offer new services.

Breast Health Center

Located on the first floor, the Breast Health Center will offer patients a single access point to screening and diagnostic services.

Pediatric Rehabilitation

The Women and Children’s Center will expand SCVMC’s renowned physical rehabilitation program with new indoor and outdoor pediatric therapy facilities.

New Birthing Options

Certified nurse midwives can improve maternal health outcomes while offering another choice for women who deliver at SCVMC. As part of the Women and Children’s Center, this service will be offered to patients on a pilot basis with the goal of expanding the program.

Service Line Approach

SCVMC is making major investments in electronic medical records to improve care between clinics, specialty centers and the main hospital to ensure the proper coordination of care and the best possible patient experience.

What building improvements are needed?

While the future home of the Women and Children’s Center is a modern hospital facility, it was built with a general, adult use in mind. It has inadequate space for public, visitor and family use. Very little of it is child friendly. Areas being vacated from the building (to the John A. and Susan Sobrato Pavilion) will require major construction to repurpose for new use. And on a crowded medical campus with dozens of buildings, the facility has no distinguishing exterior feature to advertise to visitors and the public its unique purpose.

This project will address all these deficiencies.

New Service Areas

The creation of the Women and Children’s Center hinges on the opening of the adjacent new adult hospital wing, the Sobrato Pavilion. The concentration of adult and administrative services in that building will allow for new service expansion in the Women and Children’s Center. This includes the entire 4th floor that will undergo major renovations to build a new post-partum Mother and Baby Unit with all private family suites. It will also allow for the construction of the Breast Health Center on the ground floor. Existing areas will also see substantial improvements, including the creation of a new Pediatric Family Lounge & Library and Outdoor Therapy Playground.

Building Visibility and Placemaking

The Women and Children’s Center will sit on a large medical center campus, centered in a sprawling geographic area of 1.8 million people. Quite simply, too many people do not know where SCVMC is or what services it provides. Lack of knowledge of available services is a leading barrier to accessing services, especially for young families with children. As such, a primary objective of the Women and Children’s Center is to create a healthcare landmark in Santa Clara County; a place widely known and identified across race, class, neighborhoods and language. A major public art installation on the exterior of the building speaks to this strategy. The Women and Children’s Center will be a “place,” a high-quality public space with an outward presence that informs the community of its purpose and contributes to people’s health, happiness and well-being.

Family Gathering and Children’s Play Spaces

Inspired by the best of children’s hospital design worldwide, the building will see significant re-imagining of how spaces look and are used. This includes new places for families to gather, children to play and participatory exhibits that engage patients and visitors in fun and learning.

A Public-Private Partnership

Public dollars will fund the heavier construction associated with the Mother and Baby Unit, Breast Health Center and other required facility upgrades. A minimum of $25 million in private philanthropy is needed for all improvements to existing units and spaces, exterior building changes, public art, interactive exhibits and some medical equipment. In all, at least $50 million will be invested in the transformation of the building.

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