CMHS Breaks Ground on New Community Memorial Hospital

Santa Paula News

Community Memorial Health System broke ground Wednesday, September 14th, for the new Community Memorial Hospital.

The celebration drew about 500 community members, including CMHS medical staff and employees as well as city and county dignitaries.

“This is the single most important thing to happen in my two years as mayor,” Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton told the crowd, adding the new hospital also will boost the city’s economy and turn midtown into a “second downtown.”

“Your children and grandchildren will look on this day as the greatest day in the history of Ventura,” Fulton said.

 The six-story, 325,000-square-foot hospital will be built next to the current hospital at 147 N. Brent St, and is scheduled to open in 2015. It will have 250 private rooms, comfortable space for families and a healing garden on the grounds. 

The new CMH, which meets seismic demands, also will have a larger Emergency Room and greater imaging capability than the present hospital. It also will have additional Heart Catheterization labs, expanded Intensive Care and Cardiac Care Recovery Units, and a larger Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The hospital’s 10 surgical theaters will have leading-edge medical technology.

“We will provide state-of-the-art care in a facility that is truly state-of-the-art,” said Gary Wilde, President and CEO of CMHS.

The new hospital will meet the needs of the community for the next 50 years, Wilde said, and will feature environmentally friendly “green” components such as triple-paneled glass windows that will reduce heating and air-conditioning costs.

The current 242-bed hospital was built in 1962. Previous hospitals in the 110-year history of Community Memorial Health System were the Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital, built in 1901, and Foster Memorial Hospital, built in 1930.

Wilde thanked the Ventura City Council and City Manager Rick Cole for partnering with CMHS on the project that is being financed through $350 million in tax-exempt bonds. “We could not have had a more supportive city,” Wilde said.

The ground-breaking ceremony also featured 14 speakers representing different segments of the Ventura community - “stakeholders, not stockholders” as Wilde described them - including former Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury, a member of the CMHS Board of Trustees for 15 years and chairman of the CMHS Campaign to build a new hospital.

“I’m here because Community Memorial Hospital saved my life,” said Bradbury, sharing with the audience the day that his heart stopped beating during a routine medical procedure. 

Joseph and Lynn Bova, parents of CMH’s first quintuplets born in 2001, represented the families of children cared for in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Although the family no longer will be requiring the services of CMH’s Maternity Department and NICU, Lynn Bova joked, “With six active children I’m sure we’ll be spending time in the new Emergency Room.”

Dr. Doug Woodburn, chairman of the CMH Physician Campaign representing active and retired physicians with CMHS, said members of the medical staff look forward to practicing medicine, “in an environment that will allow us to work together to offer the best quality of care.”

Dr. Woodburn added that the new hospital, “will attract and recruit future generations of physicians to care for your children and your grandchildren.”

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