More than 100 community members, staff and leaders were smiling and excited Tuesday as the ribbon was cut on the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital. Many have waited for years for this moment.

“I’m so thankful and proud we were able to do it. It took a long time, but worth every minute of it,” said Sally Errecart, a native resident and special guest invited to cut the ribbon.

Errecart and Del Troy, a longtime Tehachapi resident, both held the scissors symbolizing the much-awaited new hospital opening its doors.

Errecart was born at the original two-story hospital at 115 W. E. St. before the 1952 earthquake. The current building at that location was rebuilt and opened to patients in 1957. She worked there assisting patients and the local physicians.

Troy added, “I think it's a treat. We’ve worked for this many, many years. My husband would have been happy to see this beautiful hospital.”

Troy’s husband was a physician and worked for Harold and Madge Schlotthauer, who owned the old hospital, during the late 1950s and 1960s, before the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District took over operations.

Many grateful words and speeches were delivered at the ceremony.

“We are so excited to have a modern, state-of-the-art facility. Adventist Health’s mission is to live God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope, and that’s what we hope to do for this community,” said AHTV President Jeff Lingerfelt. 

The hospital at 1100 Magellan Drive opened Nov. 7.

Adventist Health partnered with the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District more than two years ago to help complete construction of the new hospital. Residents allowed the affiliation by voting “yes" and passing Measure H in 2016.

Mike Nixon, president of the TVHD board, said that over the years many changes and improvements have been made, with Adventist Health agreeing to give $27 million to complete construction of the new hospital.

“They have brought a whole new culture to our community,” Nixon said. He added, “Anyone who has come through and has seen this place is just amazed on how modern and new it is. Five years ago we had a lump of coal sitting here and today we have a diamond of a hospital.”

Adventist Health has so far contributed more than $44 million toward construction of the new hospital, making the building costs total more than $109 million.

In the last 14 years, the community committed to $65 million in bonds to build the hospital, with another $60 million in added interest.