Local residents can hardly wait for the new hospital in Tehachapi to open. They have been waiting a long time — close to two decades.

The waiting could be over by early summer.

“All the construction should be completed by March and we'll be handed the keys,” said Jimmy Phillips, executive director of marketing/communications for Adventist Health. “After that, we'll start stocking the building.”

Phillips spoke about the new hospital facility at the unveiling of new branding for Adventist Health. The new name locally is Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley. It is also the newest partner for the company, which operates 20 hospitals in four states.

David Eastman, interim president of AHTV, said building a hospital isn't like building a Walmart.

“A commercial building doesn't have as many requirements as a hospital does,” he said. “But we've made good progress because of the dedication of our employees and the community.”

Phillips said once construction is complete, staff at the current hospital will begin training. However, the new location can't open until all regulatory permits are approved.

“Everyone is so excited,” he said. “We'll also have a grand, Grand Opening and tours before the official opening.”

Ashley Neudauer and Zoila Schrader, current employees of the district and now Brand Ambassadors, both said they can't wait for the doors to open.

“With all the new equipment and more resources, we can bring a better level of care to our patients,” said Neudauer, a registered nurse at the hospital. “By doing this rebranding, we're bringing everyone together. It's a good fit for the community. We're all so excited.”

Schrader said the new facilities and ties with the other hospitals bring the future to Tehachapi.

“This partnership and hospital is not just for today, but it's a stepping stone to the future,” said Schrader, who works in the long-term/swing bed department. “We will be giving all these people a better quality of life.”

Both said there is a positive energy surrounding the Adventist Health mission statement that includes “health, wholeness and hope,” along with caring for the spiritual well-being of patients as well as their physical needs.

“Being innovative and faith-based is important to a lot of people,” Schrader said. “It allows us to also use prayer to comfort our patients.”

Neudauer agreed.

“It's good to be able to provide spiritual care and be comfortable doing it,” she said.