Patient Care Tower

Community Participates in Patient Care Tower Groundbreaking

GroundbreakingWith words of appreciation, prayers of thanksgiving and encouraging predictions for the years ahead, a host of staff and community representatives wrote a significant chapter in the history of Simi Valley Hospital during a celebration on December 5 to break ground for the new Patient Care Tower.

More than 300 guests gathered in front of the main hospital building under sunny, clear skies for the 10 a.m. event, which was emceed by Tim Shannon of Farmers Insurance in Simi Valley. Along with hospital and community guests, the event was attended and covered by three newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, the Ventura County Star and the Daily News.

Honoring Our Pioneers

In her remarks, SVH President and CEO Margaret Peterson wove together the story of the hospital’s past and present, telling of how the events that led to the Patient Care Tower groundbreaking were actually put into motion in the early days of the hospital.

“As we gather here today in anticipation of building a Patient Care Tower for our community,” she said, “I am reminded of a quote by Sir Winston Churchill, who said, ‘It is only possible to test the practicality of schemes … by pushing them vigorously forward in the teeth of obstacles.’”

Portrait of Dr. JonesSimi Valley Hospital could never have broken ground for a new, state-of-the-art Patient Care Tower without the pioneers who overcame obstacles of their own to bring a hospital to the community in the mid-1960s. In recognition of one of the key founders of the hospital, a portrait of Dr. J.O. Jones, M.D., was unveiled, that is currently on display in the main hospital lobby.

Several members of Dr. Jones’ family were on hand, including son John Jones, Jr., M.D., daughter Karyl Jones Fisher and brother and sister-in-law Harold and Ethel Jones. In a touching tribute to his father, James Jr. spoke about medical care in Simi Valley in the days before the hospital and how his father made house calls in the community and provided medical services from his own home.

Peterson also highlighted the contributions of Marina Montgomery Paul, who deeded property in the 1960s for use by the hospital.

Also during her remarks, Peterson acknowledged the outstanding contributions of former SVH administrators, as well as several others, including Adventist Health (for their significant financial commitment toward Tower construction), the SVH Governing Board, the medical staff, the hospital employees, the Volunteer Guild, the Tower design and construction team, Simi Valley city officials and the community at large.

The groundbreaking event also recognized local history that stretches back hundreds of years. Chumash Indian Richard Argulo, also known as Blackbear, performed a traditional Native American blessing on the ground on which the hospital will be built.

Turning the Sod

Turning the SoilOne of the highlights of the event was the actual breaking of ground. Shovels in hand and symbolically wearing hard hats, representatives of the hospital, physicians, Adventist Health, and the building team dug into the earth that will soon be overturned by large machinery as the actual construction process could begin later this month.

Before turning the soil, Margaret Peterson was given her very own, one-of-a-kind gold-plated hard hat, a gift from the hospital’s executive team.

The Patient Care Tower

The new Patient Care Tower will replace 136 beds, and will feature state-of-the-art equipment and design. The new facility will incorporate the latest advances in medical technology and will offer patients spacious, attractive private rooms. Moreover, the Patient Care Tower will set the stage to further expand new tertiary care services, such as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (level II nursery). The Tower is estimated to be completed in 2008.

Construction of the Tower will not impede hospital operations, as it will remain open to serve the community throughout construction activities.

The Patient Care Tower cost is estimated at approximately $75 million. Funding sources include $16 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damages incurred from the Northridge earthquake and $10 million pledged by Adventist Health, the parent company of Simi Valley Hospital. The hospital has also developed a Foundation to assist with funding construction activities.

A Group Effort

The groundbreaking ceremony was truly a community event, with participants not only from Simi Valley Hospital and Adventist Health, but also from community businesses, government and religious organizations.

In addition to those mentioned above, participants included the following:

  • Bill Davis, mayor of Simi Valley;
  • Tanya Ferguson of the Simi Valley Presbyterian Church;
  • Randy Adams, Simi Valley chief of police;
  • Glen Becerra, Simi Valley Councilman and mayor pro tem;
  • Thomas Mostert, president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and chair of the Adventist Health Board;
  • Donald Ammon, president and CEO of Adventist Health;
  • Robert Carmen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Adventist Health and chairman of Simi Valley Hospital’s Governing Board;
  • Nicole Dolski from the office of Elton Gallegly, U.S. representative, 23rd district;
  • Russ Hopkins from the office of Tom McClintock, California state senator, 18th district;
  • Debi Schultze from the office of Keith Richman, California state assemblyman, 38th district;
  • Jacquie Richardson from the office of Judy Mikels, Ventura County supervisor, 4th district;
  • Gurdip Flora, M.D., chief of staff at SVH;
  • Greg Stratton of the Simi Valley Board of Education;
  • Keith Millhouse, Moorpark councilman;
  • Brenda Craig, SVH Administration Department;
  • Dave Peckham, SVH chaplain;
  • Scott Aaron, Rabbi, Brandeis Bardin Institute;
  • Monica Berlin, director of diagnostic imaging at SVH;
  • Larry Caviness, president of the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists;
  • Neil Havens, U.S. Postmaster, Simi Valley, retired;
  • Nancy Kinsinger, president of the SVH Volunteer Guild;
  • Jonathan Kurohara, M.D., vice chief of staff at SVH;
  • Cheryl Nance, SVH vice president and chief nurse executive;
  • Paula Lewis, SVH vice president.
  • Mike Sedell, city manager, City of Simi Valley;
  • Lewis Fry, senior pastor, United Methodist Church of Simi Valley;
  • Father Mac of the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church;
  • Elder Charles Jenson, Pastor Simi Valley Seventh-day Adventist church;
  • Clif Patten, vice president and chief operating officer, SVH;
  • Elvin Gaines, M.D., medical staff member, SVH;
  • Muni Reddy, M.D., former chief of staff at SVH; John Conaty, of Turner Construction; and
  • Lee Hughes, president of HC Resources.

December 2002