UCSD Thornton Hospital Kitchen

  • LOCATION: La Jolla, California
  • CLIENT: Kitchell Contractors
  • ARCHITECT: Cannon Design
  • COMPLETED: 2016
  • RAYMOND SCOPE: Fireproofing, Framing, Drywall, Lath, Plaster, GFRG, Acoustical Ceilings


The UCSD Thornton Hospital Kitchen Renovation was part of a two-year phased renovation project at Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, California. The kitchen and dining areas, which would be renovated and expanded by approximately 6,000 square feet, were built to serve both Thornton Hospital and the adjacent Jacobs Tower Medical Center. The project also included a renovation of the hospital’s receiving dock, providing new elevators, façade over the main loading dock, staff offices, restrooms, and locker rooms. The hospital remained occupied during construction and the areas affected by the renovation remained operational.

Noise and dust are one of the biggest offenders in any renovation, and with the sensitivity of an occupied hospital environment, the Thornton Kitchen Renovation required a strong construction impact mitigation plan. Infection control barriers and negative air pressure would be the first elements of every phase of work. The project was drafted as four phases with four steps in each phase equaling 16 mini-phases, each requiring careful planning of entry and exit routes, patient impact, infection barriers, negative air placement, and sticky mats to control foot dust and construction activities.

One of the main areas of build out of the project included a patio roof covered with large trees and a seating area above a large three-bay loading dock. The transition from patio roof to an additional kitchen level was challenging due to occupied patient rooms facing the construction area. Privacy and noise abatement were high priorities to protect patients during construction. Temporary Plexiglass windows with obscure film were built in front of each patient window to deaden noise, while still allowing in sunlight. To further lessen the vibration and noise, patients were moved from rooms in a rotation that allowed drilling below unoccupied patient rooms.

Working outside and above the loading dock posed another challenge. Scaffold was created to span the loading bays so that hospital deliveries via large semi-trucks could continue uninterrupted while work continued overhead. With the potential of delivery trucks to knock the scaffold when reversing into the loading bays, great care was put into safety procedures and a dedicated flagman was used to alert crews of arriving trucks.

For a project of such great magnitude, communication and teamwork between all trades, at all times, was vital. Despite challenges and unforeseen obstacles, the Thornton Hospital Kitchen Renovation was complete in time to serve the needs of the newly opened Jacobs Tower Medical Center.

Project Team:

University of California, San Diego – Owner
Kitchell Construction – General Contractor
Cannon Design – Architect
The Raymond Group – Fireproofing, Framing, Drywall, Lath, Plaster, GFRG, ACT Ceilings
Canyon Insulation – Insulation
Safway – Scaffolding
CMS Interiors – ACT Ceilings

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