Construction delays plague California hospital expansion: 9 things to know

Ventura, Calif.-based Community Memorial Hospital broke ground on a $275 million replacement hospital seven years ago, with a completion date slated for March 2015, but repeated construction delays have plagued the facility and it is still not complete three years later, the Ventura County Star reports.

Here are nine things to know:

1. The project, which was initially pushed by changes in seismic regulations, is a 250-bed, six-story replacement hospital with an expanded emergency department. The new hospital, called the Ocean Tower, will feature an expanded labor and delivery department, neonatal intensive care unit and catheterization labs.

2. The current hospital, called the Mountain Tower, will house administration, outpatient services and laboratories. Four stories of the aging tower will be repurposed or demolished.

3. Community Memorial broke ground on the replacement hospital seven years ago, and leaders predicted the project would be completed by March 2015. The new date for completion is Aug. 17 — three years later than initially anticipated.

4. Fred Kummer, who owns HBE Corp., the contractor building the hospital, is taking full blame for the delays.

5. Mr. Kummer placed much of the blame on his decision to shutter the company after completing its final project — the $275 million Community Memorial replacement hospital. This decision made many staff members leave prior to completing the project. Mr. Kummer also cited a rigorous oversight process. "Frankly, we didn't have the capacity to build the project as rapidly as we could have," Mr. Kummer told the VC Star. "The blame belongs squarely on me and squarely on HBE."

6. Adam Thunell, COO for Community Memorial, said the timetable disruption was also linked to delays in steel fabrication and plumbing issues.

7. Due to the repeated delays, HBE Corp. is paying a $10,000 per day penalty under the lump sum contract. The penalties for not meeting the construction timetable were written into the contract.

8. Once HBE completes its work on the facility, the hospital will need to undergo a training, stocking and regulatory approval process expected to take four months.

9. Hospital officials anticipate the tower to open to patients by the end of 2018.

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