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Articles / 2011

CMH demolishes offices to make way for reconstruction

Ventura County Star
Friday, 05/27/2011
by Chris Stolz

A crew from Standard Industries works on clearing debris from a parcel where Community Memorial will build a new hospital with an entrance facing Main Street. The current hospital will be used for offices and other support services.

The rumble and crash of an excavator at work will be heard over the next two months in Ventura, as Community Memorial Hospital tears down nearby office buildings and abandoned homes to make way for its reconstruction, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

"It takes a long time to build a hospital, but it's amazing how fast it comes down," said Mike Ellingson, vice president of marketing and development for Community Memorial Health System.

He was watching a demolition crew Friday build piles of rubble out of what had been medical offices behind the existing hospital. The hospital has not been touched and remains fully operational.

Ellingson said the office buildings, abandoned homes and parking lots along Brent Street to the south of the hospital — a space totaling about 3 acres — are scheduled to be completely cleared away by the start of July.

A new hospital, which will repurpose the existing hospital structure for offices and other support services, will be built with entrances on Main Street, and will look out toward the ocean.

"Following the Northridge earthquake years ago, the state passed a seismic bill mandating new earthquake standards for hospitals," Ellingson said. "But besides that mandate, we have an old facility here. It was built in the '60s, and it's time to modernize."

The new hospital will be no taller than the existing building, but far broader and nearly 170 percent larger, with 250 private rooms, a larger emergency department, more surgical suites and better integration of services.

"We brought a lot of experts in and said, 'OK, think medicine 10, 25, 50 years from now,' " Ellingson said. "It's hard to do, but the one thing we can forecast is that hospitals are being used more and more for critical-care services."
Ellingson said construction of the new hospital is expected to cost about $270 million, to be financed by the issuance of bonds.

"We're going out into the market this year, hoping to get the financing secured, and to start building the project this year," he said.