How long does it take to plan a groundbreaking for the South Bay's first new hospital in more than 40 years? For some, it took months. For others, it was a day more than 20 years in the making.
"I began my career with Sharp Chula Vista 20 years ago," says Pablo Velez, PhD, RN, chief executive officer of Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. "Our current hospital had only been open for about that long, but there were visionary people already thinking about and planning for the day we would need to expand."
Those people knew something others didn't yet: It wouldn't be long before Chula Vista and its surrounding communities began booming with incredible growth. As the population has grown, so has Sharp Chula Vista to meet the needs of the community. A da Vinci® Surgical System arrived in 2010 and made cutting-edge surgery available close to home. In 2012, the hospital's ER was renovated and expanded. That same year, the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center opened. A new parking garage added 718 spaces in 2015.
On Nov. 10, 2016, decades of planning became a reality as employees, doctors, volunteers, donors, community leaders and government officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new hospital at Sharp Chula Vista, scheduled to open in 2019.
The celebration began with a blessing from Sharp Chula Vista Chaplain Bogar Hernandez and continued with remarks from Sharp Chula Vista Board Chairman Bob Sutherland; Sharp HealthCare President and CEO Mike Murphy; Sharp Chula Vista Senior Vice President and CEO Pablo Velez, PhD, RN; Sharp HealthCare Foundation Senior Vice President and CEO Bill Littlejohn; and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas-Casillas.
To honor Sharp Chula Vista's proud history and exciting future, guests walked past green hedges adorned with historical photos, toward a large model of the new hospital with river rocks nestled below. Guests wrote their wishes for the future of Sharp Chula Vista on the rocks — a symbol of their contribution to building the foundation for a next-generation hospital in the South Bay.
"Building this new hospital wouldn't be possible without the generosity of many — our physicians, employees, volunteers and community members, to name a few," Dr. Velez adds. "The groundbreaking was a time for us to celebrate together what we have accomplished for the community. When the hospital opens, we'll celebrate again."
At $244 million, the project is Sharp's single largest investment to date. The six-story, 197,000-square-foot tower will include large, private patient rooms, five high-tech surgical suites, a hybrid operating room, a rooftop cafe with panoramic views, and space for support services.
For the news media: To talk with Sharp executives about the next-generation hospital in Chula Vista for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.