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Articles / 2017

Community’s Continuing Care Center Construction Continues

Concrete pads are poured for the new Continuing Care Center in Ojai. Concrete pads are poured for the new Continuing Care Center in Ojai.

Ojai Valley News
by Perry Van Houten

Construction of Ojai Valley Community Hospital’s (OVCH) new skilled nursing facility — the Continuing Care Center — is moving closer to completion.

The soil work and underground plumbing are nearly finished, slabs have been poured and framing work is starting at the site, behind the main hospital at 1306 Maricopa Highway.

“What I like about this phase is you begin to see all the trades that have been working on the project,” said Haady Lashkari, the hospital's chief administrative officer.

Groundbreaking on the $17-million project took place last summer.

Building the new Continuing Care Center is the last phase of the three-part, $20-million project to modernize the community owned, not-for-profit hospital.

The existing 18,000-square-foot, 66-bed facility is aging and often at capacity, the air conditioning system is inadequate and so is the plumbing, Lashkari said.

The new 42,000-square foot building will have 75 beds, seven private rooms and 34 two-bed rooms.

The area devoted to patient rooms will increase from approximately 6,500 square feet to more than 15,000 square feet.

The new building will feature an enlarged physical therapy space (six times larger than the old building) with indoor and outdoor exercise areas and healing-enhancing landscaping.

“We believe it's a very well-thought-out project and we're incredibly excited that a state-of-the-art building of this design will be available to the community,” Lashkari added.

After all the patients have been moved into the new building, the old building will be torn down and converted into a parking lot.

“The actual move will take place in one day, but there's a huge ramp-up that takes place prior to that, obviously. We hope to be in the building by this time next year,” Lashkari said.

A skilled nursing facility provides non-acute care for patients requiring physical therapy after undergoing surgery, as well as caring for permanent residents.

Since the facility frequently runs full, it's the financial engine that enables the Emergency Room, outpatient services and the acute care hospital to remain open to serve the community, Lashkari explained.

“This is really an investment in the community, and we want people to know about the level of care that's available locally, and what we're doing to continually improve that,” he said. McGillivray Construction of Ventura is the general contractor on the project, which is a first of its kind in the city of Ojai.

“It's the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building in Ojai,” Lashkari said.

LEED-certified buildings use less water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

Lashkari said the expanding facility will require him to bump up staffing.

“We will need to hire some additional staff as we get closer,” he said.