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.
“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.”
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.”
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.