DOWNEY – Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, officially kicking off the multi-million dollar “Rancho Rising 2020” renovation and construction project.
The event was held at 10 a.m. on the hospital campus, in front of a dirt lot where one of Rancho’s notoriously dingy and worn down buildings once stood. In attendance were local government officials, hospital staff and executives, as well as several of Rancho’s current patients.
“Today we are celebrating the construction of a world class campus that will finally match the level of its world class clinical care,” said Jorge Orozco, CEO of Rancho. “Today Rancho is rising and will continue to fulfill its mission, which is to restore health, rebuild lives, and revitalize hope.”
The event was highlighted by several speakers, as well as an invocation that was led by former Downey Mayor Mario Guerra.
“The book of Proverbs says that ‘without vision the people shall perish,’ and today vision is what’s happening here in the great hospital, Rancho Los Amigos,” said Guerra.
One of the day’s speakers was District supervisor Don Knabe, who is spearheading the Rancho Rising project.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is to be able to make that impact and to serve our patients here at Rancho each and every day, and to be able to serve them at a much more effective way.”
Knabe went on to discuss the work that is being done to create a partnership with the Veterans association to help benefit those who have served the country.
“It never made sense to me to have our vets come home and suffer long wait times at VA facilities or be transferred to other VA facilities outside of the state of California, separated from their families,” said Knabe. “But we have made the deal…so that our veterans can choose non-VA medical facilities, and particularly Rancho Los Amigos. What better place than Rancho for our vets to come and be rehabilitated.”
Also on hand was Downey Mayor Pro Tem Alex Saab.
“Rancho Los Amigo’s history is intimately tied with the city of Downey, and embodies all that is good in the City of Downey,” said Saab. “The city of Downey is very proud that Rancho Los Amigos is part of our community, and we consider it a gem in our community.”
Rancho Rising 2020 is being managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. A local worker hiring program for the project has been established with a goal of 30 percent of the construction to be performed by local workers, according to Director Gail Farber, who also took some time to speak at the ceremony.
Rancho Rising will cost $418 million, and conducted in two phases, concluding in late 2016 and 2020 respectively, as reported in an earlier Downey Patriot article published in April of this year. Officials are anticipating that the project will be completed “on budget and on time,” and that the new wellness center will be opened in August of 2016.