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Hospital Demolition Begins at March

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Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown promises to introduce project to President Barack Obama

By Lee Ragin, Jr. –

The longest serving Speaker of the California State Assembly and former Mayor of the City of San Francisco Willie Brown was the guest speaker at March LifeCare’s Hospital Deconstruction Ceremony held earlier this week. The event featured speakers, a military fly-over, and live band before a wrecking ball was ceremoniously dropped from a 145-foot crane on the southwest corner of the 5-story hospital.

Over 500 people, many with ties to the former military facility, came to watch the beginning of the demolition.

Pastor Charles Brooks and his wife Charlotte were there. “Our grandchild was born in that building,” they said as the wrecking ball hit the top of the structure. “Our daughter asked us to come and see the building come down.” Like many others present, they are excited with the prospect of the space being used to once again heal people.

“This project represents how healthcare should be delivered,” Willie Brown said in his remarks. “I don’t know of any other place where elected officials, appointed officials, private sector medical personnel, people efficient in managing land use, people interested and dedicated to delivering services to those who need it, and the people who will be served...the patients...all participated in the process of putting together a program. That is what you successfully managed to do here.”

Over 100 veterans from the US Vets facility currently on the site proudly marched from their facility to the event tent located in front of the hospital in t-shirts emblazoned with their logo on the front and the March LifeCare logo on the back.

“Were excited to be connected to the March LifeCare campus, “ US Vets site manager Keith Bennett said. Also introduced at the event was March LifeCare’s volunteer Veterans Advisory Board, a group dedicated to making sure veterans are served on the campus.

Since last year the March LifeCare project leaders have made several major announcements. In June, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) and St. Bernardine Medical Center (SBMC) announced that they entered into an exclusive relationship with Riverside Medical Clinic (RMC) and March Healthcare Development (MHD) for the purpose of defining a new integrated healthcare delivery system on the March LifeCare Campus. SBMC and RMC will also focus on the development of an Accountable Healthcare Organization (ACO) that will include other key hospitals, physician groups and Independent Practice Associations (IPA). This delivery system will provide access to high quality, cost-effective care.

Speaking on behalf of those entities were Dr. Steve Larson and Dr. Ravi Berry of Riverside Medical Clinic and Steve Barron and Vicky McCain of St. Bernardine Medical Center. Also on program, representing over 100 Moreno Valley physicians was Dr. Bakhtiar Ahmad, who said they are ready to move to the campus and want to continue to serve the patients of Moreno Valley close to home.

Supervisor Marion Ashley congratulated developer Don Ecker on his progress, “Our staff has worked diligently with Don Ecker and his team for almost 7 years to bring this health and wellness city to the March area. And the region will truly benefit from it.”

Ashley, as well as Brown, used the deconstruction event as an opportunity to criticize Governor Brown’s plan to dismantle redevelopment, “Redevelopment is a tool we use to minimize the risk private developers face when developing projects on former military installations. As the ceremony today illustrates, there is much deconstruction that must occur before infrastructure and vertical construction can begin, “ Ashley said.

Brown also commented, “Redevelopment is not going away. This type of redevelopment will produce a whole new use of a former military base.” He said in calling the campus “incredible.”

While on stage, he promised to personally introduce the project to President Barack Obama during their next scheduled meeting. March LifeCare in concept, he said, represents how healthcare should be delivered.

When completed, March LifeCare will include six-million square feet of healthcare related development including a 550-bed hospital, a senior continuum of over 700 beds, medical office buildings, retail, ambulatory care facilities, education, research and training facilities, plus a hotel, and a healing institute. Construction is planned in phases and will provide some 12,700 local construction jobs and employ 7,200 permanent medical-related personnel when completed.

Internationally renowned architectural firm Ho+k designed the Master Plan for the March LifeCare Campus. McCarthy Building Companies is the master construction manager and US Demolition is in charge of dem- olition. WEBB Associates, a local firm, leads the planning team.

March LifeCare is being called the largest healthcare construction project in the West and is attracting the attention of federal, state and local officials at a time when the Inland Empire area suffers through some of the worst unemployment figures in the U.S., hovering around 14 percent.

“Not only is this project bringing jobs -- look at all the construction work that has happened just in the demolition phase -- this project will bring better healthcare to the region,” stated Supervisor Ashley, who is also chairman of the March Joint Powers Authority, the entity governing the March base reuse plan.

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0 # Guest 2011-04-01 16:18
Hello Cheryl ,
I used to live in MO VAlley and I just wondered if they ever got a library in the city? Last time I visited I could not find it. I was wanting to get some archive files on the Alliance For Responsible Government. ARG. The Recall of Scott, Webb, and Horspool I am sure you remember that and the Lawsuit etc. Look forward to hearing back from you.
Mary L. Faust-Mayhew
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