LANCASTER — Residents interested in learning more about Antelope Valley Hospital’s plans for the future, including the ultimate goal of a new state-of-the-art medical center, are invited to attend a free, interactive town hall meeting on Thursday.

It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Resource Center, 44151 15th St. West in Lancaster and is expected to last approximately 90 minutes.

The meeting will feature presentations by CEO Edward Mirzabegian and senior hospital officials, as well as a period for questions from the audience.

It will help lay out plans as the hospital looks to expand services to meet a growing community need with a modern facility and meet state earthquake safety requirements.

Those seismic standards, which the current facility does not meet, are driving the push for a new facility within the next six years, to meet the state’s deadline.

The hospital also faces physical constraints at the campus where it opened in 1955.

Thursday’s town hall is the first of five scheduled across the Valley. Others are set for 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1308 Rancho Vista Blvd. in Palmdale and 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Eastside High School, 3200 East Ave. J-8 in Lancaster.

The final scheduled gathering is set for 6:30 p.m., Oct. 29 at Quartz Hill High School, 6040 West Ave. L.

The Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors, which governs the hospital, agreed on May 29, to pay RBB Architects, Inc., $9 million to cover the initial architectural, structural and environmental planning to construct a new medical facility by the state’s 2025 deadline.

“After 2025, if we don’t rebuild, kiss this place goodbye,” Mirzabegian said at the time.

The new facility would be built on land the District already owns adjacent and to the west of the current hospital buildings at Avenue J and 15th Street West.

The contract documents from RBB state that the new 370-bed facility carries an estimated $400 million price tag, which will be provided either through a public bond measure or private sources or a combination of both, officials said.

Even if the district decided to retrofit the old facility, only about half is suitable for such improvements, leaving an inadequate hospital at half its current size.

The wings built in 1965 cannot be retrofitted, Mirzabegian said.

In November, the District asked voters to approve a $350 million bond measure for seismic retrofitting or a new facility. That measure failed to secure the 66.6% of the vote to pass, with 63.9% voting to approve it.

The election also came at a time of turmoil for the District and hospital, as then-CEO Michael Wall and then-chief financial officer Colette Nichols were on paid administrative leave pending investigation into unspecified improprieties. Both later resigned.

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