State officials have given Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley the OK to begin stocking supplies and allowing staff into the new hospital building, another step toward its long-awaited opening to patients.

Inspectors from the Office of Statewide Planning and Development on Thursday granted approval of what's called beneficial occupancy, according to an AHTV news release issued Sunday.

“This marks a monumental moment not just for Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, but for all of our friends and neighbors in our community. Clearing this hurdle allows us to stock our hospital with the necessary supplies and equipment to save lives. Our next step is to apply for state licensing and open the doors of our community hospital to the public,” AHTV President Jeff Lingerfelt said in the news release. “We are blessed with a dedicated team that made this happen, and a wonderful community that invested so heavily into this hospital. I am excited for what it means for the future of healthcare in the Tehachapi Valley.”

No date for opening the 25-bed critical access hospital was given in the news release, which noted that the public will be able to tour the facility before it opens to patients.