LANCASTER — The Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors voted unanimously this week to invest $8.7 million to expand Antelope Valley Hospital’s emergency room and $9 million toward laying the groundwork to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital.
The board approved the addition of a 6,300-square-foot modular building with 44 beds, adding to the 67 beds currently in the emergency room. The new building will be attached to the existing emergency department. A modular, pre-fabricated structure does not require a new foundation and allows the hospital to erect the new building in less than a year’s time. Last year, the emergency room saw about 130,000 patients in a space that was built for a fraction of that number. AV Hospital is home to the third-busiest emergency room in all of California.
“One of my first objectives when I returned to Antelope Valley Hospital this year was to address the chronic overcrowding of our emergency room and initiate the process of building a brand-new medical center that will serve our community’s needs for years to come,” said CEO Ed Mirzabegian. “I commend the board for taking the necessary steps to ensure excellent patient care today and generations to come.”
The $9 million expenditure covers the initial architectural, structural and environmental planning required to construct a new medical center by January 2025. The move to replace the existing decades-old facility is in part so Antelope Valley Hospital can include higher patient capacity, the latest technology, greater efficiency, and a larger emergency room to meet the healthcare needs of the region. A new hospital also will comply with California’s strict earthquake safety standards.
“Our top priorities as a board were to expand the capacity of our emergency room and make plans for a modern hospital that will efficiently serve our patients and the growing community,” said Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board Chair Mateo Olivarez, RN. “California’s earthquake safety requirements could force us to shut down a large portion of our patient care areas if we don’t replace our facilities. We must take steps to build a brand new hospital, which will ensure we are here for the community for decades to come.”
“It’s a smart way to solve a tough problem,” said board Second Vice Chair Abdallah Farrukh, M.D., of the emergency room expansion.
[Information via news release from Antelope Valley Hospital.]