OAKDALE -- Oak Valley Hospital District unveiled its new hospital Tuesday during an open house that drew hundreds of people who marveled at its emergency department, operating suites, laboratories and imaging facilities.
Oak Valley Chief Executive Officer John McCormick said more than 1,000 people were expected to tour the hospital, including the 350 employees and their families who visited in the morning. The public tours were held in the afternoon.
The long-awaited hospital is expected to open in mid-August. Oak Valley needs to complete some finishing touches before getting state approval to open, McCormick said.
But that did not dampen the enthusiasm of those who toured the building Tuesday. "I've had a couple of procedures in the old hospital, and this looks a lot cleaner," Mike Burkett said. "The other one was clean, but it was old. This is much more appealing to the eye."
The project was a long time coming. District trustees envisioned building a hospital about a decade ago to replace the current Oak Valley Hospital, which opened in 1973.
But the district scaled back its plans after construction costs escalated and voters in 2008 twice rejected a $27 million bond for the project. Voters did pass a $37 million bond in 2004.
The new hospital is two stories. But the second story slated for inpatient services and patient rooms is a shell and won't be finished until funding becomes available. McCormick said there is no timeline for completing the second story.
He said the first floor is about 64,000 square feet. He expects the hospital's final cost to be $70 million, which includes construction and associated costs, furnishings and equipment.
The new hospital is connected to the old one by a corridor, and Oak Valley will use both facilities. The old one will continue to house the hospital's 35 patient beds and rehabilitation services. The new one will house outpatient services: the emergency department, surgery, labs and imaging.
Besides state-of-the-art equipment, the new facility is more spacious and offers additional services, such as a private room for grieving families and a pediatric trauma room, and increases ER beds from eight to 12.
Oak Valley officials say the new hospital will let them provide better patient care, help them compete in a tight health care market, and make it easier to recruit doctors and other medical professionals.
That last point was evident in Oakdale resident and registered nurse Michelle Morua's comments. She worked for Oak Valley Hospital for one year several years ago before going to work for a Bay Area hospital.
But now that she has young children, she said she may decide to work closer to home.
"I think it's a beautiful hospital.
Everything is up to date. It's not like the old one. It's going to be a wonderful place for families to take their loved ones."
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.