Aug. 29, 2013
Tiobe Barron, OVN correspondent
The Ojai Valley Community Hospital (OVCH) is one step closer to a makeover, thanks to a recent approval of the external remodel plans by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
“We have begun the process of pulling the necessary permits to start the construction,” states a Community Memorial Health Services press release. “We anticipate the project to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.”
The remodel is mostly aesthetic, covering aspects of the hospital such as the façade and landscaping. Although the project went through the Ojai Planning Commission design review process, receiving approval Feb. 6, ultimately it was the state agency that gave the final go-ahead.
“This project did not require city council approval. It was reviewed by the planning commission early this year,” explained Ojai City Manager Rob Clark. “Unlike most private development, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development has primary jurisdiction over hospital plan approval and inspection.”
The remodel is not expected to significantly affect traffic in the area, but will increase the size of the hospital’s waiting room.
To create an updated image, and a new entry, OVCH hired architects Rasmussen and Associates. The solution was to develop a formal entry courtyard with trellised perimeter seating areas organized around a central fountain. This courtyard allowed the existing waiting room to flow out into the courtyard, effectively doubling its capacity.
“We are doing a façade remodel, we are not changing the circulation on site,” said Rasmussen’s Scott Boydstun during the Feb. 6 planning commission meeting.
Consistent with many other Ojai structures, the façade remodel will be done in Mission Revival style and features a cupola, fountain, latticework and an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entryway.
“I think the commission is familiar with the building. It is a somewhat dated façade right now, and this would be a substantial improvement to what’s there now,” said former community development director Rob Mullane during the public hearing for the project Jan. 2.
“In 2004, the hospital merged with Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura. We became a Community Memorial Health System. We’re a mini-system, a not-for-profit system here in Western Ventura County,” explained OVCH Chief Administrator Haady Lashkari. “Since the merger, we’ve really been trying to reinvest and invest into our community, and our community hospital. I think most notable was the Emergency Project, where we converted our — literally — our emergency room, where we had three beds, into a state-of-the-art emergency department that serves the valley here.”
The hospital just underwent phase one of the project, which was required for earthquake compliance. “Predominantly it had to do with some anchoring work that had to be done, both with rooftop equipment as well as equipment within the hospital. It was just under $1.5 million worth of work that was done,” continued Lashkari. “We are excited about starting this phase of the hospital, because I think it’s going to be most notable for people who drive by and see the hospital. This is going to be the area most folks are going to see, so we’re excited about that.”