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The Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District is deciding on the future of the old hospital location at 115 W. E St.

The architect selected by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District in November for the retrofit of the old hospital building at 115 W. E St. still hopes for a contract, despite the board’s rejection of his proposal and selection of another firm.

“I’m still in negotiations with the board and I’ve agreed to all of their conditions and I am waiting on the green light to get started,” Randy Weinstein, who represents Studio/RA, said in an interview.

Studio/RA is the architectural and interior design firm selected by board members at the Nov. 14 regular board meeting to help with the design of the retrofit, evaluation of construction cost, participate in permitting, the construction process and ensuring ADA requirements are met.

“We are still trying to work with Studio/RA,” Scott Nave, legal counsel for the district, said in an interview after the Jan. 21 board meeting. He added, “When the board voted on it, the proposal included architectural and engineering services. It was only when we started negotiating the contract that the board did not realize the contract did not include engineering services.”

This negotiation is ongoing despite board members voting unanimously at their Jan. 21 board meeting to reject Studio/RA's proposal and select Combs and Miguel Architecture to help with the retrofit.

Many months have passed without a resolution to what will become of the old hospital.

In September, Adventist Health returned the 115 W. E St. building back to the district, and ended their lease. This prompted the district to request proposals for architectural and engineering services to retrofit the building.

The signing of a contract for architectural and engineering services will help the district determine the future design, cost estimates of the project and whether the board will move forward, Nave said at the meeting.

The yet-to-be signed contract with Studio/RA is estimated to be about $150,000, while the Combs and Miguel Architecture contract is in the $225,000 to $250,000 range, said board member Sam Conklin.

Nave said in an interview that the information from Combs and Miguel Architecture outlines a breakdown of costs, versus a percentage of costs from Studio/RA.

A list of all three architectural proposals and bids for the retrofit was not included in the board meeting packet.

Caroline Wasielewski, district manager, said that a ballpark figure for the project though various conversations with a company that performed mechanical evaluations on the building put the cost of the retrofit around $2.5 million to $4.5 million.

In a previous meeting, board members expressed they wanted to only spend $600,000 to $1 million on the retrofit. However, the board has not voted on a set amount to spend.

District funding to perform repairs after the architectural and engineering contract is signed, and the evaluation finished, is still in question.

“I would say no more than $2.5 (million) and I would like to do it for less. If we get too much beyond that, then I think we are skating on thin ice,” said board chairperson Duane Moats.

Chief Financial Officer Chet Beedle said that roughly $2 million a year comes to the district in revenue, mainly from property taxes.

New hospital

Board members discussed selling the new hospital located at 1100 Magellan Drive to Adventist Health.

“That’s a very involved decision,” Nave said. He added, “You would have to see what it would sell for. It would have to be approved by an election of voters. So there is a whole process.”

Tehachapi News asked whether there are any current plans for Adventist Health to acquire ownership of the new hospital.

Jeff Lingerfelt, president of AHTV hospital, issued a statement saying, "Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District has approached Adventist Health about purchasing the building we currently occupy. At this time, Adventist Health remains committed to its lease agreement.”