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By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Hospital total cost $100m

The Forde Files No. 153


Tina Fisher Cunningham

Eugene Suksi

The total cost of building and equipping Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital will be $98.9 to $99 million, perhaps a bit more, according to Eugene Suksi, CEO of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District.

"It is likely to hit $100 million," Suksi said.

The people of the healthcare district approved two bond measures of $15 million in 2004 and $50 million in 2009 to build the hospital. A change in architect and an environmental challenge delayed construction, adding millions to the cost. The bond funds were seriously depleted as the project neared completion in 2016, and the prospect of additional funding looked bleak. In response to the district's Request for Proposal and subsequent contact, Adventist Health stepped in to complete the facility with a payment of $27 million in return for a 30-year lease to operate it.

The district added $3 million more to the bond funding, for a total of $68 million investment in the project. Adventist will have invested $32 million at completion.

In 30 to 45 days (from Aug. 15, 2016), Suksi said, Adventist will have paid the full lease amount of $27 million.

"By September, the end of August, the district will have recognized the full $27 million value of the lease agreement," Suksi said. "Adventist will end up paying in excess of the $27 million to fully complete construction."

He said that Adventist will pay $5 million more than the lease agreement, exceeding the obligations of the contract.

"The public will get more than their $27 million," Suksi said.

The new hospital will open in the first quarter of 2018. Adventist is carrying out tenant improvement projects, including information technology, cabinetry, laboratory equipment, pharmacy configuration and additional fire suppression material. The Fire Life Safety Officer required the installation of additional stripping around all wooden doors to prevent smoke penetration. "The approach will exceed the standard," Suksi said.

New state regulations put in place since the start of construction have required updates in the not-yet-open facility.

Adventist assumed operations of the district's existing hospital and three clinics on Nov. 1, 2016.


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