Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:00 AM

EDC breakfast builds excitement for Clovis hospital expansion

The massive expansion of Clovis Community Medical Center is just what the local economy and the development of the city needs, said business people, politicians and economic development officials at a June 2 breakfast meeting.

Hospital CEO Craig Castro presented details of the expansion at the Economic Development Corporation’s Business Expansion and Retention or BEAR breakfast. And Clovis city officials unveiled plans to develop a large area just west of the hospital across Temperance Avenue as a retail and medical offices park that would complement the hospital’s expansion.

EDC President and CEO Steve Geil called it a “bold move” to finance bonds during the current economy, adding, “What a great vision to prepare now for increasing demands.”

 Clovis Mayor Pro Tem Jose Flores said, “The health care industry is very robust in Fresno County and Community Medical Centers will make it that much stronger – in the short term in the form of construction jobs and once completed it will provide hundreds of good-paying health care jobs.” Flores added that he hopes his family members just graduating from nursing school will be among those hired..

Upon completion of the $285 million project in fall 2013, Clovis Community will be the first comprehensive, full-service hospital in the region to have all private rooms, nearly tripling in size to 739,000 square feet. The expansion calls for a new, five-story bed tower, a dedicated women’s pavilion, a special care nursery and a new parking garage. The emergency department also will be expanded to accommodate a projected 50,000 patient visits annually.

Castro said Clovis Community, built to deliver 100 babies a month is now delivering the equivalent of a kindergarten class every day. And with the completion of the outpatient surgery expansion in fall 2009, the hospital is doing about 1,000 surgeries a month – almost as many as the downtown Community Regional Medical Center which has seven times as many beds. 

The new construction, he said, will strengthen the hospital’s mission as a true community hospital by doubling the number of private rooms and providing space to deliver twice as many babies, having the latest minimally-invasive surgery and endoscopy technology for elective and diagnostic procedures and greatly expanding the emergency room.

Excitement and support for Clovis Community’s expansion project is building as the triangular, five-story bed tower begins to take shape. This past month, two local businesses with broad connections in the community stepped forward with gifts towards the construction. Although $210 million of it is being financed by bonds, Castro explained, the remaining costs will come from operating expenses and philanthropy. 

Dan Doyle, president and CEO of Central Valley Community Bank, encouraged the bank to match the contribution he and his wife Polly made. It was an easy pitch, he said. “Thirty years ago we started as Clovis Community Bank and we have deep roots in this community. A couple of our founding directors were very involved in building the original Clovis Community Hospital way out in the orange groves … We have a history of not only giving our resources but our time to our community.”

Doyle, a member of the Clovis Community Development Council, acts as community liaison and ambassador for the hospital expansion. “It’s a privilege to work with the hospital and do some missionary work out in the community, identifying philanthropic opportunities ...There’s a great mission here and it’s going to be a great asset to our community.”

Scott Bridgeman, CEO of Eye-Q Vision Care, says the company’s gift to the Clovis expansion fits with the company’s philosophy of giving back to the community where their doctors live. He sees Community Medical Centers’ mission and Eye-Q’s as similar – to improve the region’s health. He said donating is part of Eye-Q’s culture and should be part of other businesses.

“The trick is you have to do it on a regular basis and if everyone in the Fresno area gave just a little bit, we could accomplish so much,” Bridgeman said.

Private support from corporate donors, individuals, physicians, employees and others is being sought by Community Medical Foundation to help fund the Clovis Community expansion. To find out more about the Clovis hospital expansion campaign, call Community Medical Foundation at (559) 459-2670.

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at ekennedy@communitymedical.org.