The new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley facility is now slated to open sometime in the fall.

That's the word from AHTV President Jeff Lingerfelt, who shared that timing with community leaders at the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at Big Papa’s on May 15.

“After months of hard work and anticipation, we’re excited to say that the finish line is in sight," Lingerfelt said in a statement. "We feel confident that we will be ready to begin transferring staff and stock to the new hospital this summer, and that construction efforts will be complete in the coming months. Afterward, we can begin the state licensing process and are hopeful we will be open this fall.”

Hospital officials are not giving a specific date. The opening of the new facility in the Capital Hills area has been delayed several times.

The 25-bed critical access hospital is costing more than $100 million. Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District started building the hospital more than five years ago and hired an architect and builder to complete construction. It is currently not known whether Adventist Health has completely taken over construction.

Administrators are hoping the staff and stock process happens in mid-July, Lingerfelt said. Staff and stock includes making sure all materials and supplies are in place.

During the chamber meeting, Lingerfelt added that many fixes to windows, doors, the pharmacy and other details still are not completely finished.

A number of windows of various sizes around the building need repair and shields to help block sunlight from penetrating the building, said Lingerfelt.

He added, “The air conditioning was running at 80 percent capacity, when no one was in the building.”

Pharmacy changes include raising counter tops from their current 30-inch height so work can be done efficiently, Lingerfelt said.

As previously reported, 28 or more doors need to be fixed, including correcting gaps of one-eighth inch near the ceiling and adding automatic door openers and steel caps to prevent damage.

Tehachapi News had previously observed that the east side entrance was constructed with two non-self opening doors and needed to have push buttons fixed, so doors can be opened for the disabled.

In response to Tehachapi News' specific questions on hospital progress, Lingerfelt wrote, “We’re making progress throughout the building and plan to have construction complete soon. Specifically, the front entrance work will be completed by early June; the pharmacy by the end of July; the door remediation by mid-July, and the kitchen by mid-June.”

The hospital plans to offer services new to the Tehachapi Valley.

The hospital will have an intensive care unit and two gastrointestinal lab rooms, Lingerfelt said.

“Too often community members forgo important procedures far from home because of transportation, cost and time barriers. We’re sensitive to the fact that health care happens when it’s convenient," he added. "These surgery bays will allow our residents to get the quality care they need close to home.”

A helicopter pad will be located at the southeast corner of the 20-acre campus. Ambulances will drop off patients in the southeast location, Lingerfelt said.