The old Tehachapi hospital – a building that began serving the community over 64 years ago – will soon encounter the proverbial wrecking ball.
Caroline Wasielewski, CEO of the Tehachapi Valley Health Care District, said this week that the building at 115 W. E St. would collapse in the coming weeks. The district administration board accepted an offer from the IDR demolition company for $ 327,000 in February. Since then, Wasielewski said, the asbestos decontamination has been completed, but a delay in disconnecting the building’s electrical service has prevented its dismantling. She hopes this will be resolved soon.
The building has not been used as a hospital since a new hospital, operated by Adventist Health under an agreement with the district, opened in November 2018.
The health care district considered ways to use the old hospital property, both to meet the unmet health needs of the community and as a source of income for the district. A previous plan to renovate the building was abandoned in October 2020, according to the minutes of directors’ meetings.
Now, district directors are hoping to construct a new building on the property, although how such a project could be funded has not yet been determined.
The old hospital building takes up most of the property in the 100 block of West E Street. At a district directors meeting on September 17, 2019, Jay Schlosser, director of development services for the city of Tehachapi, commented on the district’s plans.
According to the minutes of that meeting, Schlosser said the city “is very interested in keeping the aesthetic value of the city center intact” and “suggested removing the building and collaborating or selling to an entity that could build a new multi-purpose structure ”.
At the time, according to the minutes, the district administration board was not interested in this option and continued to discuss the reallocation of the building.
Asked to comment this week on the upcoming demolition of the old structure, General Manager Greg Garrett said the building “has served Tehachapi well for over 60 years. I know the Health Care District will do something amazing for the community in its place.
History of the hospital
According to information from the Tehachapi Heritage League, the old Tehachapi hospital sits on a site that was once a rooming house built by Jean Capdeville. The property was sold to Drs. Madge and Harold Schlotthauer in 1934 and was used as a hospital until the 1952 earthquake. A plaque in front of the building indicates that although the structure was severely damaged, no life was lost in the hospital. The large trees in front of the old hospital were planted by the Capdeville family.
The structure which is about to be demolished was built of reinforced concrete and considered at the time to be earthquake resistant. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the facility on May 16, 1956, and the first patients were admitted less than a year later, on April 8, 1957.
The district website (tvhd.org) includes a history of the hospital, noting that “Dr. Madge” and “Dr. Harold” treated generations of Tehachapi residents until they sold the hospital. to what is now the health district in 1969.
The Tehachapi Valley Hospital District was formed in 1949, following the passage of the Local Hospital District Act by the state legislature in 1945. It was later renamed the Health Care District of the valley of Tehachapi. The district collects property tax revenue and has also issued bonds to help build the new hospital.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be contacted by email: [email protected]