After six years of work, Oak Valley Hospital’s volunteer Oversight Committee has completed its task of overseeing the expenditure of the Measure H general obligation bond measure to help finance construction of a new hospital. The committee issued its final report to the hospital governing board at the April 27 meeting. Hopefully, that means opening of the ‘new’ hospital is soon to follow.
In August 2004, voters in the Oak Valley Hospital District overwhelmingly approved ballot Measure H to generate $37 million in funds to help finance the replacement of Oak Valley Hospital, originally built in 1973.
When voters approved Measure H in 2004, there was a stipulation that a group of local volunteers represent the taxpayers to insure the money was expended for hospital construction only. The committee was also charged with representing the interests of homeowners and taxpayers whose bond proceeds co-financed the project.
Committee chairperson Mickey Peabody said during the report’s presentation that she wanted to ensure that bond funds were spent on “steel and cement” rather than “soft costs” not associated with the construction.
With a total price tag of $90 million, general revenue bonds, hospital reserves and donations were also critical in completing a project of this magnitude, she said. The oversight committee had the responsibility to make sure the hospital was wisely investing bond proceeds.
The final report demonstrated savvy financial management, which Peabody credits to outgoing hospital CFO Wayne Mills, as the hospital netted over $5 million in investments, turning the community’s $37 million into nearly $43.5 million for hospital construction.
Members of the oversight committee recently donned hard hats and were treated to a tour of the new facility, getting the chance to see it up close and learning about the unique features of the hospital before it is certified as finished and opened up to the public.
The construction architectural plans were submitted to the state of California for approval in 2005, but not approved until late 2006. Construction of the new 123,000 square foot hospital began in 2009.
Oak Valley officials said they wanted to “keep local health care dollars at home” and said they were able to retain about 95 percent of all contractors and sub-contractors used on the project from this area.
The annual payroll for Oak Valley District Hospital is around $21 million and the additional $43 million from Measure H proceeds provided a huge economic stimulus to the local economy, coming from local area housing and consumer purchasing power that benefitted local businesses of all types. More than 150 people are involved in the ongoing project, working on the construction site and spending money in Oakdale and surrounding communities.
ACME Construction of Modesto serves as General Contractor for the construction project with Kip Johnson as the on-site superintendent. Jacobs Engineering represents the hospital in project management with Oakdale resident David Martin as the project manager.
There have been 46 sub-contractors working on the project with most located in the Central Valley including Oakdale businesses, Don’s Mobile Glass, Pacific Builders Hardware and Ross F. Carroll Inc.
Also from the area are RK Parsons in Escalon, Great West Kings Roofing in Hughson, Acosta & Sons in Hickman, and Premier Engineering in Turlock. Modesto based companies include Bambacigno Steel, Barton Overhead Door, Cemex, Champion Industrial Contractors, DC Vient Inc., Floor Tec, Morris Supply, Negel Landscaping, and Solecon Industrial, noted officials.
The new hospital now is approximately 75 percent complete. It is scheduled to open the first floor later this year with a phased-in plan, beginning with the emergency department and later bringing in other departments of the hospital.
“In retrospect, it was both courageous and visionary of the Board of Directors, past and present, to pursue the necessity of a replacement hospital at the time they did,” said Peabody. “Securing revenue bonds and committing hospital reserves to co-fund this project were essential, timely and well managed. The commitment of our local physicians and the efforts of our employees in supporting Measure H were vital. Most importantly, we should acknowledge the voters in the Oak Valley Hospital District for taxing themselves to make this happen. This is their hospital.”
Jim Teter, board member and Building Committee chairperson, encouraged the public to continue watching the progress of hospital construction as the project nears its completion. Those looking to be updated on the progress of the hospital can go to the hospital’s website at www.oakvalleyhospital.com and click on ‘new construction’ and the link to ‘ACME Construction’ for the latest updates.