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Tuesday, Dec 18 2012 12:00 AM

Hospital board prepares for final construction decisions

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Greg Simons of Bernards Columbo Construction presents new hospital bid information to the Board of Directors, Henry Schaffer, Doctor Kim Horiwitz, Doctor Sam Conklin, Doctor Gary Olsen and Duane Moats. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon

The Board of Directors of Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District has tentatively approved some bids -- and rejected others -- as it prepares for construction of the new Tehachapi Hospital to be located in the Capital Hills area north of Highway 58 at Mill Street.

At a special meeting held on Dec. 12, Greg Simons, Joint Venture Manager for Bernards Colombo, the construction management firm in charge of the construction of the future hospital, explained the bidding process for the new hospital to the board.

"We divided the hospital into 36 bid packages," Simons said. "We divided it into the increments that would be attractive, would be competitive, and that would cause interest in wanting to bid this project."

In addition to required advertisement, Simons said, the firm did outreach to 800 potential bidders.

Bids were opened on Nov. 20, averaging more than four bids per package, he said, with a total of 127 bids on different parts of the project.

"At this point in time after all that advertisement all those bids we feel very comfortable that the bulk of this project, some $49 million, made up of the 28 key bid packages is ready to go," he said. The board took action to reject some bids, as recommended by Simons, but had to hold off on accepting any bids until after a special meeting set for Jan. 3.

Before it can accept bids the board must know that it is past the legal challenge having to do with the environmental issues. According to CEO Alan Bugess, Monday, Dec. 17, was the deadline for an appeal to be filed of the Sept. 21 decision of Superior Court Judge Kenneth Twisselman to allow the project to move forward.

Also, according to Burgess, the delay of the project has caused its price to rise above available funding, and the board must resolve this issue before accepting bids.

Project Manager Stacy Pray gave the board an update on the overall project budget.

"Today we are sitting at 87 million, an estimated cost of $772 per square foot," Price said. She then provided a list of six options for building the hospital to reduce the cost by deleting various items from the project that could be added later if desired.

"Option 1 and 2 are basically the same, the only difference is removing mobile equipment which is not allowed in bond allocations reducing the $87 million project to a $77 million bond project," she said. "Mobile equipment is the beds, etc, anything on wheels that could be moved.

"Option 3 deletes the administration building from the hospital, bringing the total project down to $83 million.

"Option 4 removes the surgery and helipad from the project bring it in at $81.4 million.

"Option 5 at $77.9 million is similar to Option 4, but additionally removes the administration building.

"The last option is Option 6 which is just moving over existing services without administration, which is pretty much the minimum project that you can build," Pray noted. "That comes in at $74.8 million."

She added that Option 6 would involve building out the entire structure of the hospital, without a helipad and with only a shell for obstetrics and surgery.

At the meeting the board requested an additional option of a build out with surgery but not obstetrics for consideration in January.

"Work that has been contracted to date is $18.5 million," Pray said. "The bond amount remaining is $48.5 million. I'm going to be recommending next month that we contract for $49 million because that's where we lock in the costs, it will not go up. If we do that we're a half million dollars from the bond amount. The district will have to come up with an additional $500,000 in financing to do this before Jan. 16 to be able to fund this project."

Hospital Chief Financial Officer William Van Noy indicated he is looking into several additional forms of financing for the project and noted that he expects to have some better information by the first week in January. The board voted to have a special board meeting on Jan. 3, 2013 to discuss financing options so it can take further action on the various options at its regular January meeting. The time and location of the special meeting has yet to be determined.

The next regular meeting of the Board is scheduled for 6 p.m., Jan. 16 at the Golden Hills Community Services District building.

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