With its certificate for public occupancy from the state newly in hand, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley is moving closer to opening its new hospital — so much so that it's ready to allow the community in for much-anticipated guided tours.

The community event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. 

“To see our community hospital this week receive a certificate of occupancy ­— one of the final steps before licensure — is a blessing. In just a few short weeks, we’ll begin the state licensing process and soon after, begin taking patients,” AHTV president Jeff Lingerfelt said Tuesday.

He added, “We cannot emphasize enough how much we appreciate the hard work of our staff who have brought us to this point, and most importantly, our community, which has never stopped believing in us and been so patient during this process. The wait is nearly over.”

The open house will be an opportunity for the community to see what so many have waited for at the 20-acre campus near Capital Hills, north of Highway 58.

Harold Pierce, communications manager for AHTV, added, “This will be our community’s chance to see the entire hospital, including the emergency department, our intensive care unit, and the operating rooms, which most people are never allowed to step foot into, unless they’re on a gurney."

Over the next few days, staff will prepare for patients by practicing various scenarios, using a new computer system and making sure supplies are stocked, Lingerfelt said.

More than 10 months have been devoted to correcting issues with doors and windows, performing electrical work, enlarging emergency room space, repairing flooring and more to bring the building up to code and pass inspections.

These projects included adding automatic door openers to entrances, fixing gaps on patient room doors to be fire and smoke compliant, raising countertops that were too low, and completing a small demolition and reconstruction of the waiting room to make it larger and help protect patient privacy.

Construction crews worked on-site 10 hours per day, six days a week in the last few weeks before the grand opening of the 79,000-square-foot building, added Pierce.

“I think when we cut the ribbon in a couple weeks we are going to blow out the candles, we are going cut the cake and really this will be a moment that will define our community and our city," Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett said.

The 25-bed critical access hospital comes equipped with 13 emergency department rooms, operating rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, four intensive care unit beds costing $30,000 each, gastrointestinal lab rooms, radiology, imaging, X-ray, ultrasound, CT and mammography services, a lab and cafe.

The hospital construction cost to date has come to more than $102 million.