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Three flavors of ice cream but 1 idea

Hospital touts expansion plans at old-fashioned community social

Posted: August 9, 2008 7:23 p.m.
Updated: October 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Connor Rabe, of Valencia, enjoys ice cream at the ice cream social hosted by Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital on Saturday afternoon.

With the help of a few scoops of ice cream and freshly popped popcorn, the supporters of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s proposed master plan hosted an ice cream social on Saturday to address concerns from the local community about what the expansion would bring.

Laura Young, public relations manager for the Valencia hospital, said more than 200 people attended the event.

“We want to be open,” she said, adding that they hoped no concern would be unanswered.

Young said she knew of four people who initially came in against the plan and, afterward, ended up leaving in favor of the proposal, which they illustrated by signing their name on the list of hospital expansion supporters.

As for the ice cream and snacks, Young said Newhall Memorial wanted to give people a refreshment for coming.

“We always like having a fun event,” she said.

As attendees ate their ice cream on the warm Saturday afternoon, the indoor pavilion area of the hospital featured 10 supporters of Newhall Memorial’s expansion who fielded questions.

Wearing badges with the phrase “ask me,” the supporters, which included Newhall Memorial officials, discussed the master plan in front of hospital renderings and poster boards outlining the expansion.

Roger Seaver, president and CEO of the hospital, was one of the people who addressed concerns.

“Historically, there’s been a lot of misinformation,” Seaver said, while standing in front of the visual representation of the expansion. “And we don’t benefit from that.”

Seaver said that the 15-year plan is not “complex.”

“People really need to understand it and the need for it,” he said.

The $300 million master plan would add 327,000 square-feet to the existing 340,000 square-foot hospital campus. The plan would create three medical office buildings, an inpatient tower with 120 beds and parking structures.

As visitors snacked on the sweet treats and walked to each of the posters, some reacted well to the plans, while others weren’t so pleased.

Bill Reynolds and his wife Meg, said they were curious about the ice cream social and attended the event as concerned citizens who live in the neighborhood near the hospital’s campus.

Meg Reynolds said that they would like to see Newhall Memorial expand, but they question the “magnitude of it” and the proposed medical office buildings, which she called “too many and too tall.”

Kathy Mink, a RN at the hospital and Valencia resident, brought her family to the ice cream social.

While she considers herself a supporter of the plan, she attended the event to get a “look at the other side” and learn about why people were against the expansion.

As for her thoughts on the expansion she said, “We need more beds in the hospital. The population is growing and we just need more room to give the community care.”


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