The area around Clovis Community Medical Center is going to see construction once again, as Community Medical Centers plans a $65 million skilled nursing facility just south of the hospital.
The project will be built on about 8 acres of the southeast corner of Herndon and Coventry avenues. It will have 150 beds and is designed for patients who need extended medical care, including rehabilitation services, from nurses and doctors.
Michelle Von Tersch, vice president of communications and public affairs for Community Medical Centers, said most of Fresno County’s skilled nursing beds are in constant use.
Statistics from the office of Statewide Health, Planning and Development show that Fresno County has a greater than 90 percent occupancy rate for skilled nursing beds and more than 85 percent in the surrounding five-county area. Statewide, the occupancy is 86 percent.
And that shortage is expected to get worse as Fresno County’s population of those over the age of 60 is expected to grow by 30 percent in the next 10 years.
“At current usage rates, the demand for skilled nursing beds in the community will exceed supply,” Von Tersch said.
The project was approved last week by the Clovis Planning Commission and construction is expected to begin next summer. The plan is for the facility to open by the fall of 2021.
This is the second major project Community has launched on the Clovis hospital campus. Earlier this summer, it opened the $68 million Community Cancer Institute on Temperance Avenue near Highway 168, just north of the hospital.
As part of Community’s plans, the skilled nursing building will be two stories and 96,000 square feet. It will feature 90 skilled nursing beds and 60 sub-acute care beds. Hospital officials estimate the expected stay for most patients will be less than 30 days and for more severe cases, the length of stay could be years.
The facility will be open 24 hours a day with 20 to 30 medical transports a day. Traffic to and from the site will be from Coventry and Herndon avenues. A six-foot masonry block wall will be built on the southside of the project separating it from Cedarwood Elementary.
According to city planning documents, there is a proposal to widen Herndon from Temperance to DeWolf avenues and to widen Coventry from two lanes to four lanes up to the Enterprise Canal.
The nearest home to the project is owned by Marianne Shepherd, who operates the Palm Creek Retirement Home on Herndon. Shepherd said she does not have a problem with the project and looks forward to it being built. She did say that the area has changed dramatically over the past three decades, from a sleepy rural neighborhood to a bustling medical complex.
“I think it is a good thing to see how the hospital has grown and all the improvements it has made in the area,” she said. “It’s also a good thing for the residents of Clovis to have in their community.”