Groundbreaking held for Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center

County and City officials gather for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the High Desert Health System Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.

LANCASTER – After more than 10 years of preparation, construction is slated to begin on a state-of-the-art medical complex in Lancaster.

Los Angeles County officials joined City officials Monday (Jan. 30) for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new High Desert Health System Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center (MACC). The complex will be constructed on a 15-acre site on Avenue I near 3rd Street in east Lancaster.

“What we’re taking here is an area that was really a deplorable drug-infested area that’s going to be changed,” said County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. “We’re going to have legal drugs to help people and a facility that is going to help mend lives.”

Nearly 200 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

The project is expected to cost $141.5 million, and will replace the existing 50-year-old High Desert Health System facility in west Lancaster.

“This new MACC will be a much more accessible building, with much more of the kind of technology and specialty care that we want to be able to deliver,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, Director of the County Department of Health Services.

The High Desert MACC Complex will consist of a new ambulatory care facility to house a large ambulatory surgical center, adult and pediatric primary care clinics, an urgent care clinic, a women’s clinic, and medical and surgical subspecialty clinics, all totaling approximately 142,000 square feet.

“This particular facility is incredible,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The intelligence of this building is truly phenomenal because it’s designed to stop disease before they get to the emergency room, and it’s all the state-of-the-art ways to do that.”

In addition to serving as a primary care medical hub, the MACC will provide a comprehensive range of outpatient medical services, including outpatient surgery and an urgent care clinic.

Rendering of the new High Desert MACC Complex.

The urgent care clinic will provide walk-in and same-day service, as well as diagnostic and treatment services, including chemotherapy, occupational speech therapy, respiratory therapy and laboratory testing.

Special programs that will be housed at the MACC will include the Antelope Valley Hope Center HIV/AIDS Clinic, the regional Foster Care HUB Clinic, the SCAN clinic for children who are suspected victims of sexual or physical abuse, an oncology clinic and disease management programs for patients with diabetes and asthma.

Construction on the project is slated to begin Wednesday and will last for two years.

“We look for it to be open in July of 2014,” said Antonovich, adding that the clinic will have the capacity to provide services for up to 125,000 patient visits per year.

Once completed, the MACC will be the first county medical building to be eligible for Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

“It’s going to be a monument to demonstrate the Board of Supervisors’ leadership and commitment to sustainable building practices and environmentally responsible energy and water use,” said County Public Works Director Gail Farber.

Farber said some of the state-of-the-art features include green technologies to control the air temperature inside the facility, recycled water for irrigation and renewable energy made available through solar trees and wind turbines located on the site.

Parris said the project is one of the most important things happening in LA County today.

At Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Parris labeled the project “one of the most important things happening in LA County today,” and praised Antonovich and County staff for holding on to the $140-plus million dollars needed to fund the project.

“How did they hold on to that project in this economy? Could you imagine the forces trying to suck that money away?” Parris said. “It took a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of effort, all of his [Antonovich] energies to hold on to this and make this a reality. It’s because of a lot of people, but leading those people was Mike Antonovich, and thousands of people are going to be alive because of it.”

The project is being constructed by Swinerton Builders Los Angeles. The project was first approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2002, according to Tony Bell, Communications Deputy for Supervisor Michael Antonovich.