Thanksgiving Day may truly live up to the name.

If all goes as planned, construction for the new Tehachapi Hospital should be completed by Thanksgiving of 2016.

Yes, this year. Actual patient care will follow soon after that.

The Tehachapi News was given an exclusive tour of the new facility on Thursday, Aug. 25. Construction workers are still busy putting the finishing touches on the new hospital located in the Capital Hills area near the post office, but one can envision what it will look like when it’s complete.

“We hope the wait to get it all completed will be worth it,” said Ana Vlad, assistant project manager for Bernards Builders in San Fernando. Bernards is working with Colombo Construction of Bakersfield on the building.

“Everything is coming along OK so far,” Vlad said. “All the construction should be completed by November.”

Tehachapi residents and those of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District have heard promises of a new hospital for more than two decades. The project has seen its share of fits and starts, bond measure shortfalls, and other construction headaches during that time.

About two years ago, the timeline to complete the new facility finally got back on track. With a vote in favor of partnering with Adventist Health, which will contribute $25 million to pay for extra construction costs, the local area should see the new, state-of-the-art hospital ready by the beginning of 2017.

“We probably have been working on this since the late 1980s,” said Mike Nixon, chairman of the TVHD. “But we’re finally at this point and it’s an amazing facility.”

The tour covered the new sections of Tehachapi/Adventist Health Hospital, which included obstetrics, operating room, intensive care unit and more. The new 25-bed critical access hospital also will have emergency services, inpatient beds, swing beds, a laboratory, imaging, an inpatient pharmacy and dietary services.

Future visitors will be impressed by the size of the new hospital, with larger rooms and an airy, open-look to the main lobby. The front area will consist of the main lobby, and to the left as you enter, obstetrics, clinical labs, medical-surgical and ICU rooms. The administration offices will be to the right.

“There will be four ICU rooms,” Vlad said of the rooms still needing finishing touches. “All of those rooms and the patient rooms will have windows and bathrooms.”

Some already are painted in soothing colors.

During the tour, construction staff in hardhats worked on floors, ceilings, wiring and landscaping. In addition to the actual hospital rooms and labs, they were completing the new cafeteria, along with the landscaping for a healing garden just outside the dining area.

“The garden also will have a mediation maze,” Vlad said.

Also, if one looks closely at some of the ceiling design, SWA Architects of Pasadena tried to incorporate a sort of railway theme, in keeping with the Tehachapi area. Parts of the ceiling have criss-cross beams to mimic railroad tracks, and the dining area has a big circular light representing The Loop.

Although no one really wants to visit a hospital, patients will have access to one with all the bells and whistles needed for their care when the new facility actually opens for business.

“Once we get all the licensing and inspections done, the hospital should be ready for patients sometime in January,” Nixon predicted. “It’s been a long journey.”

Jimmy Phillips, executive director of marketing/communications for San Joaquin Community Hospital and Adventist Health, also concurred that “they are working on the first patients being treated in the first quarter of 2017.”