Ceremony marks milestone for new High Desert Medical Facility

At the topping off ceremony Wednesday (Aug. 8), Henry Hearns, R. Rex Parris, Michael Antonovich and Howard “Buck” McKeon joined construction workers in giving the “thumbs up” to the new High Desert Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.

LANCASTER – County and city officials joined the construction team Wednesday in a steel topping ceremony for the new High Desert Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center (MACC).

The ‘topping-off’ ceremony, a long-standing tradition in the construction industry, commemorates the completion of a building’s structure with the placement of the final steel beam.

Officials involved in the project signed a steel, structural support beam just before a crane lifted it away to be installed atop the new medical facility.

“Today is a major milestone,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. “The construction is now 25 percent complete, and we’re looking forward to having this up and operating by 2014.”

The $141 million, 142,000 square-foot complex will include a two-story facility, two separate one-story service buildings and surface parking at a 15-acre site on Avenue I near 3rd Street East in Lancaster.

“We replaced a very bad area where this facility is being built,” Antonovich said. “It is going to upgrade the community, the city of Lancaster, and the unincorporated areas.”

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.

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 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.

The new facility will have the capacity to provide up to 125,000 patient visits each year, Antonovich said.

“It will improve the community’s access to vital medical care and will help reduce long and costly hospital stays,” Antonovich said.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the state-of-the-art medical complex is especially important because Lancaster has the highest mortality rate from preventable diseases in the county.

“Heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, renal failure, the list goes on and on and on,” Parris said. “Today is the first day where I’m actually seeing we’re gonna fix this.”

Rendering of the new High Desert MACC.

Parris praised Antonovich for his role in securing the funding needed to make the project a reality.

“How you got those other four people to give us $150 million dollars to build it is absolutely beyond me. You are the hero of Lancaster!” Parris exclaimed.

The project is being constructed by Swinerton Builders Los Angeles. The builders were required to make a good faith effort to hire local residents for at least 30 percent of the construction labor.

“As of just a few weeks ago, this project has exceeded this requirement with 40 percent of total labor hours being performed by local workers,” said Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon. “This facility is a win-win for the Antelope Valley and its residents, providing a boost to our local economy and quality healthcare.”

Construction began in February 2012 (read more on the groundbreaking ceremony here), and the building is scheduled to open in July 2014.


  8 comments for “Ceremony marks milestone for new High Desert Medical Facility

  1. Nomorelancaster4me
    August 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I’m sure glad I’m living this area!!!! Regardless of what this politicians say about making the area better!!!! NO IT’S NOT!!!!! They can say all they want but there the ones that don’t live in that area!!! An yes,have to agree that this is another version of Olive View Hospital in Sylmar!!

  2. Matt K.
    August 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Eventually, this will become the AV’s version of Olive View in Sylmar. It might help to re-develop that neighborhood when it’s done. First will come the fast-food restaurants, then the places with healthier menus will follow.

    It’s hard to imagine right now (because the area is so blighted) but the medical facility may even increase housing values because county workers may want to live closer to the facility.

    • August 9, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Matt, there has already been manhours of investment done in the Paiute neighborhood, at Avenue I north of 5th Street East. That neighborhood, the first Neighborhood Impact community served by Grace Chapel, has seen tremendous positive changes over the last several years. Ten years ago, one would have described it as looking like a war zone. Today, yards are tended, junk and trash are removed, windows are repaired, houses are painted and spruced up, and the neighborhood in general looks light years better than it did originally. Check it out!

      • Matt K.
        August 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

        David Cox,

        You’re right! Back in 2008, I covered the Neighborhood Impact project for the Antelope Valley Press religion section. I went with crews from the Desert Vineyard. This was back in September of 2008. September 27, 2008 to be exact. Yes, I agree that the Impact project definitely helped that neighborhood.

  3. Quartz Hill Resident
    August 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    This is great news. I just wish the city would offer more in West Lancaster (medical and shopping centers).

    • ed
      August 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Have patience Q.H. Resident. L is going commercial from 40th to 50th

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