Community members' top choices for use of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District's old hospital location include a long-term senior care facility, holistic center or childcare center.
Those ideas were expressed during a Nov. 15 public strategic planning meeting held at district offices.
“As a district, we just want to focus on what is needed and how much we want to spend,” said Caroline Wasielewski, chief executive officer for the district.
She added that the district is considering different options, seeking opinions on the needs of the community, and inviting professional sources to evaluate the building at 115 W. E St.
District board president Mike Nixon said the structure can be used commercially as it is currently designed. The district could also seek a partnership for a new development, Nixon said.
District CFO Chet Beedle said, "The more you can stay within the cosmetic range, rather than structural range, the better off we are."
A reserve of $3.3 million could be used to fund improvements or changes to the location, added Beedle.
A net cash balance in the district’s finance report, which also shows more than $1 million, could also be utilized in the future.
Status of building
More than five architect and engineering firms have toured the building to discuss options and layouts, although no decisions have been made.
Bruce L. Macpherson, principal for Puchlik Design Associates, Inc., said in an interview with Tehachapi News, "There are many opportunities at the structure and there might be opportunity for larger development within the lot.”
He added, “They have a good asset and they can repurpose the existing building.”
David Tea, principal for Rex Engineering Group, walked through the old hospital and looked at the electrical units and devices in the building, since he specializes in electrical engineering.
“There’s plenty of power in the building if they wanted to go with a commercial, residential or retail, whatever they decide,” Tea said.
A use for the building needs to be decided within a year, for if it sits unoccupied it could lose "its building code grandfather status,” said Jay Schlosser, development services director for the city of Tehachapi. A specific use, remodeling the building or rebuilding, would determine if new city or state building codes must be followed. The building meets current commercial codes, he added.
Some areas at the old building have strong concrete walls. It contains a variety of space, said Wasielewski.
The modular buildings at the old location are slated to be moved within a couple of months and the space will possibly be transformed into public parking or other uses, although a final decision has not been made, added Nixon. The small houses on West E Street owned by the district will still be used for a clinic and physical therapy.
A public workshop is slated to be held in December so the community can tour the old hospital and submit their ideas for its use. The date is still to be set.
In the meantime, the public may send thoughts to TVHDInfo@yahoo.com or fill out a card at 305 S. Robinson St.