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A Walk Through Time: 40 Years of Making a Difference

In 2005, Simi Valley Hospital celebrated “40 Years of Making a Difference” in the lives of the residents of Simi Valley, Moorpark and the surrounding communities.

William H. Gosse, the first administrator of Simi Valley Community Hospital, reviews an artist’s rendering of building plans with Honorary Mayor Mrs. Lou Wright.

More than forty years ago, a country doctor and a handful of forward-thinking residents had a vision for their small towns of Simi and Santa Susana: They would create a special place of healing in the picturesque valley they called home.

Together, John Owsley Jones — the country doctor known affectionately as J.O. — and the community members presented a proposal to the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in the early 1960s to build a healthcare facility to meet the needs of their growing community of more than 8000 residents.

The Conference took up their proposal, and plans went into play immediately to build a 32,000-square-foot facility with 50 beds. The price tag for the new facility would reach $850,000, with a community-sponsored fund-raising effort targeted to raise $300,000 of the cost.

The new hospital might not have come to fruition without the help of Lorena Montgomery Paul, a local resident who was exceptionally pleased with the care Dr. Jones provided to her mother and other family members. In honor of Dr. Jones’ commitment to his patients, Mrs. Paul donated property valued at $55,000 to help build the new hospital. Dr. Jones himself donated the land on which the Main Campus of Simi Valley Hospital currently stands.

The Dream Arises

Community leaders and residents gathered at the corner of Avenida Simi and Sycamore Drive on April 26, 1964, to break ground for Simi Valley Community Hospital.

On April 26, 1964, groundbreaking ceremonies for Simi Valley Community Hospital were held on the corner of Avenida Simi and Sycamore Drive, which remains the location of Simi Valley Hospital. And — much like today — the community was at the center of the activity. The Simi Valley High School pep band provided entertainment, Simi Valley American Legion Post 484 conducted the flag salute and the Reverend Robert F. Ellis of the Moorpark Methodist Church led the invocation for the groundbreaking ceremony.

Less than 16 months later, on August 3, 1965, a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of Simi Valley Community Hospital. Leading the new hospital was Administrator William H. Gosse, who was appointed by Elder Cree Sandefur, president of the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Gosse came to Simi Valley from Glendale Sanitarium and Hospital, which is known today as Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

On opening day, the first patient at the hospital was admitted for a tonsillectomy. Eight days later, on August 11, the first baby was delivered at the hospital.

In 1967, the facility was renamed Simi Valley Adventist Hospital to emphasize its Christian heritage and to connect it more directly with its parent denomination.

An expansion project for the hospital’s maternity unit in 1968 and 1969 prepared the organization for a population boom as new residents poured into the recently founded city of Simi Valley, which incorporated on October 10, 1969, and encompassed the former towns of Simi and Santa Susana.

A Modern Hospital Takes Shape

Simi Valley Adventist Hospital continued growing into the 1970s, adding 95 beds in a variety of services, including pediatrics, coronary care, rehabilitation, intensive care and skilled nursing care. Growth also came in the form of acquisition when the hospital purchased Simi Valley Convalescent Hospital to offer extended care services for the burgeoning community. Today, that building is known as the North Campus, where rehabilitation and subacute care services are housed.

In 1979, the hospital launched the Child Development Center, a pediatric rehabilitation program for infants and young children with physical and cognitive needs. The hospital expanded its service to local children with the 1981 opening of the Family Connection Child Care & Preschool Center. Family Connection offers an intellectually stimulating and fun environment for pre-school children ages two and older, as well as an after-school program for children up to 12 years old.

In the mid-1980s, Simi Valley Adventist Hospital responded to a growing demand for its services with the construction of a 64,000-square-foot, three-story addition to the hospital’s Emergency, Radiology, Laboratory and Surgery services. The new building opened in 1985.

Of critical importance to the community was the 64,000-sq-foot, three-story addition to the hospital’s Emergency, Radiology, Laboratory and Surgery services in 1985. The community was invited to tour the $21-million building, which included a new $600,000 x-ray room. Simi Valley Mayor Elton Gallegly — now a United States congressman — participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility.

Significant Growth and a New Name

In 1987, two events dramatically increased the size and scope of Simi Valley Adventist Hospital. The acquisition of the 72-bed Mountain View Medical Center added the South Campus to the hospital, which today houses Education, Home Care Services, Marketing and the Simi Valley Hospital Foundation.

In 1994, the Aspen Breast Center was renamed the Nancy Reagan Breast Center in honor of the former first lady, who is a breast cancer survivor. Mrs. Reagan attended opening-day festivities.

In addition, the hospital became a general partner in the Aspen Center, a full-service outpatient service with three surgical suites and an extensive diagnostic imaging department, including an MRI unit. The hospital purchased the facility in 1990, and today, the Aspen Outpatient Center continues to play a vital role in the health of our community. Among the facility’s services was a mammography and breast health program, which changed its name in 1994 from Aspen Breast Center to Nancy Reagan Breast Center in honor of the former First Lady, who is a breast cancer survivor.

Spurred by the important changes to the hospital’s services over the previous decades, Simi Valley Adventist Hospital changed its name to Simi Valley Hospital & Health Care Services on March 4, 1992. The new name reflected the organization’s steady growth in both the scope and volume of its inpatient and outpatient services. On February 24, 2003, the hospital streamlined its name to Simi Valley Hospital.

Today, Simi Valley Hospital offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient services, including emergency, home health, adult and pediatric rehabilitation, surgery, mammography, gastrointestinal services, occupational medicine, radiology, subacute care, cancer services and women’s and children’s services.

Into the Future

Simi Valley Mayor Bill Davis; Margaret Peterson, president and CEO of Simi Valley Hospital; and Elvin Gaines, MD, symbolically break ground on the new Patient Care Tower on December 5, 2002.

Healthcare services in Simi Valley took a leap forward on December 5, 2002, with a groundbreaking ceremony for Simi Valley Hospital’s four-story, 146,000-square-foot Patient Care Tower. Scheduled for completion in 2008, the $58 million facility will feature 144 private rooms and additional space to grow.

Attended by 300 community members and civic leaders, the groundbreaking featured the unveiling of a photograph of hospital founder J.O. Jones, which was placed in the main lobby of the hospital.

“The new Patient Care Tower will help us centralize our healthcare services for our growing community,” said Margaret R. Peterson, Ph.D., president and CEO of Simi Valley Hospital. “It is exciting to witness the continuous support for this project within the Simi Valley and Moorpark communities. Thanks to the commitment of our supporters, Simi Valley Hospital is in a position to continue our tradition of caring for our community for many years to come.”