The morning of May 24, 1975 was cool, cloudy and filled with excitement for the employees of Community Hospital of Chula Vista, who had long prepared for that morning’s move from the hospital on F Street to a new hospital located at 751 Dora Lane — now Medical Center Court.
Bobbie Snider, a former nurse who now serves as an auxiliary volunteer, rode in the ambulance with the first patient and remembers moving day as if it were yesterday.
“The ambulance ride was smooth, as there weren’t many traffic lights,” Snider reflects. “As we drove up the hill, we saw the beautiful new hospital surrounded by farmland. Employees greeted us, and the patient was taken to our modern 11-bed intensive care unit. It was an unforgettable day.”
Three decades earlier, when the original Chula Vista hospital was founded in 1944, the scene looked starkly different. Where Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center now stands were barren tomato fields. The board of directors of the hospital had a vision when they purchased 30 acres off Telegraph Canyon Road. Their vision was realized in 1975 when Community Hospital of Chula Vista opened, becoming Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center upon incorporating with Sharp HealthCare in 1989.
Snider remembers the move to the new hospital had been a concern for many who feared losing the special camaraderie that existed among employees.
“That feeling soon dissipated. We were all now under one roof. Staff continued to help one another. The ‘family’ atmosphere of Sharp Chula Vista lived on,” Snider recalls.
Snider moved to San Diego five years earlier as a young nurse from Long Island. After working for decades at Sharp Chula Vista, starting as a float nurse and retiring as chief nursing officer, she became a volunteer.
“When people ask me, ‘how long have you been here?’ I say, I came with the building.”
Today, Snider is vice president of the hospital’s volunteer auxiliary board. She volunteers a couple of days a week at the reception desk, greeting patients and directing them to where they need to go.
“I chose to volunteer because the hospital was always like a family,” she said. “It’s my home away from home. I plan to volunteer forever.”