Antelope Valley Press Staff Report
LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Hospital officials are holding a series of town hall meetings this month to inform residents about plans for the hospital’s future, including a new state-of-the-art facility that voters will be asked to support through a $350 million bond measure on the March ballot.
Hospital CEO Ed Mirzabegian and other senior hospital officials will answer questions throughout the planned two-hour sessions and speak directly with hospital leadership.
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 15, followed by 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 22 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 27.
All meetings are free and held in the Community Resource Center auditorium, 44151 15th St. West, in the City of Hope building.
“Antelope Valley Hospital offers vital care and services, including the only trauma center within 50 miles,” Mirzabegian said. “Our goal is to continue providing the best health care possible to this community while also recruiting and retaining the best talent, and a new facility will help us accomplish this. We also want to hear what our community wants and expects in a hospital, and we are excited to hear from them at our January town halls.”
With original buildings dating to 1955, the facility faces constraints of physical space and a pressing need to meet current state seismic standards, for which a significant portion of the hospital could be deemed unusable if not addressed in the next couple years. These areas can not be retrofitted to meet today’s standards.
The hospital faces a 2025 state deadline to meet seismic standards. This is an extension to the original 2020 date, and it comes with specific milestones in which the district must show progress toward constructing a new building or retrofitting the old.
If it can not meet the deadline, the hospital will be forced to close, officials said.
The Antelope Valley Healthcare District, which governs the hospital, has put forth plans to build a new facility on land owned by the District to the west of the existing structures at Avenue J and 15th Street West.
This new facility has an estimated price tag of $600 million to $650 million. The voter-approved bond measure will cover a portion of these costs, with the remainder to be raised through private, tax-exempt bonds and potentially county and federal programs, Mirzabegian said during a series of town hall events last year.
“A new Antelope Valley Hospital will have an increased capacity in the Emergency Room designed specifically to reduce patient wait times and increase patient privacy,” Mirzabegian said. “Plus, the new facility will meet California’s earthquake safety requirements and be there to serve our community for generations to come.”
Additional town hall meetings are planned for February.
Information about the plans for the new hospital are available online at new.avhospital.org
*This article originated in the Antelope Valley Press on January 9, 2020