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Little damage found at Calexico hospital

January 21, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — After eyeballing the structural innards of the long-vacant Calexico Hospital building, a San Diego engineer found "few signs of structural distress, structural deterioration, slab damage and seismic damage in the hospital complex."

A report from Michael Gardner of the San Diego engineering firm of Stedman & Dyson continues, "We are not aware of any building code or jurisdictional mandates for structural rehabilitation and upgrade. Therefore, we are not recommending any structural repairs of existing structural elements intended for the new use of the hospital buildings."

Gardner's assessment should allow the Heffernan Memorial Hospital District to finalize negotiations with Brawley-based Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo.

Clinicas Director Louis Lerma has proposed opening a late-night urgent care center in part of the hospital complex. The center would be open during the hours the Clinicas center on Cole Road is closed.

Before Lerma would move forward with plans to open a Heffernan center, he wanted to see a structural analysis of the building. Lerma is worried the building might have to be brought up to seismic code.


Gardner said the building would not be affected by the state seismic code if patients stay at the Heffernan center fewer than 24 hours. Before patients could stay for more than a 24-hour period, the hospital district would have to pay for a seismic evaluation of the building.

Gardner said his report — $1,500 of analysis — was not compliant with the stricter requirements of a seismic evaluation.

A diesel fuel tank is buried behind the hospital. It needs to be removed before any prospective tenant can use the building, according to Heffernan trustees and the city Building Department.

Gardner's report notes, "our evaluation was limited to assessment of the existing structural condition of the buildings and does not include any evaluation of existing hazardous materials, including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, underground fuel tank leakage, evaluation of existing conditions for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, existing and accessibility requirements of state building codes and evaluation of non-structural items for code compliance."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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