Several years of anticipation and hard work paid off for the San
Benito Hospital District as it unveiled the newly completed $6
million skilled nursing facility Tuesday.
Several years of anticipation and hard work paid off for the San Benito Hospital District as it unveiled the newly completed $6 million skilled nursing facility Tuesday.

Approximately 100 curious residents toured the nearly pristine interior of the William and Inez Mabie Skilled Nursing Facility during an open house to celebrate the completion of the highly anticipated project.

The Mabie Family Foundation donated $1 million toward the creation of the 57-bed facility, which will replace the rapidly decaying Southside Convalescent Hospital.

The nursing home is intended to relieve overcrowding at the convalescent home on Southside Road, which officials said is almost perpetually full. The Southside facility has typically run at about 99 percent capacity in the past, officials said.

Although they are happy to have the new facility almost up and running, some of the residents may find it difficult to leave the familiar surroundings.

“It’s a beautiful facility and Hollister needed something like this, but we’re very sorry to leave Southside,” board member Dr. Parveen Sharma said. “That was home to a lot of people.”

The hospital board said the new facility is a big improvement over what they could offer at Southside.

“It’s a place where if I needed to put a member of my own family, I would feel comfortable in doing so,” Hospital Board President Mary McCullough said.

The completion of the nursing facility – which is expected to open in about a month – was a special moment for McCullough, who has been one of the driving forces behind the project since it was first conceived seven years ago.

“I’m going to be very excited when it opens,” she said.

Completion of the facility took a lot of extra work on the board’s part because about two years ago the project ran into some financial problems that made it look like it would not be built. A combination of government red tape and local construction boom turned the original estimated cost of $6 million into about $9 million, which was $3 million more than the district had.

The increase in the construction cost for the 75-bed facility stems primarily from two causes, according to consultants who analyzed the increase.

The hospital district had to scale back some of its plans for the project and take other cost-cutting measures to bring the figures back in line.

“Sure, it’s worth it, because this community is very important to me, and this is what they’ve directed us five board members to do starting back in 1995,” McCullough said.

The district has not asked for a special tax or bond initiative to pay for construction of the facility, the money has instead come through the issuance of old bonds left over from a previous bond initiative and funds raised by a number of local contributors.

The hospital district said the new facility is just part of its commitment toward providing adequate skilled nursing care for the community.

“We’re pleased that we got this facility and we’re pleased that we were able to keep Northside open, and I think that will handle the needs of the community for several years until we can allocate more resources into Northside,” District Executive Officer Ken Underwood said. “There is a strong commitment toward improving facilities at Northside as well.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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