Northside Convalescent Hospital just $28,000 short of fundraising goal

Northside Convalescent Hospital has reached nearly 90 percent of
its fundraising campaign and renovation of the facility is expected
to begin in the spring, according to the campaign’s
chairperson.
Northside Convalescent Hospital has reached nearly 90 percent of its fundraising campaign and renovation of the facility is expected to begin in the spring, according to the campaign’s chairperson.

Barbara Nicoara told the Hollister Exchange Club at a meeting at Paine’s Restaurant that all but $28,000 of its $250,000 goal has been received.

“Our committee (Caring for Our Community) is excited about the many donations that have been made and how close we are to our goal,” she said. “The best part is that the Hazel Hawkins Hospital District is going to match it dollar for dollar so that when completed it will mean a half-million dollars for the needed work.”

Nicoara said her interest and later involvement stemmed from a period of four months when her father lived in a convalescent hospital.

“It impressed me how vital such a facility was to a community when I went there day after day to see him,” she said.

Sunbridge Skilled Nursing Center’s residents were transferred to facilities in other counties a year ago because it was not showing a profit. Its closure meant that only 55 beds were available for those who required continuing skilled nursing care in the county. However, the hospital district stepped in, acquired the old facility and renamed it Northside.

Nicoara was approached to take charge of the committee to raise funds for the massive renovation, including a leaky roof and plumbing problems.

“I was glad to do it,” she said, “and the committee is made up of wonderful, hard-working people.”

In the past few weeks Nicoara has been assisted by her husband, George Lewis, who retired as Hollister’s city manager last month.

Nicoara said that the renovated facility could also become the site of a hospice or an Alzheimer’s treatment center.

She estimated that work on Northside could be completed as early as this fall – “if the public keeps responding as it has.”

She pointed out that every dollar donated “will go to Northside. The contributions will not be sucked up into some general hospital fund.”

Individuals or organizations that contribute $100 or more will be recognized with their names inscribed on a plaque.

“And, of course, anyone wishing to make a pledge may do so,” Nicoara said.

Anyone who wants to contribute should make out checks to Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation (Northside). For more information, call 636-2653.

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