Heffernan board finds project list just keeps growing

February 16, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Heffernan Memorial Hospital District Director Ray Falcon reeled off a list of projects he had scrawled on an old envelope before Thursday night's district board meeting.

The projects:

· replace the hospital building's fire extinguishers — $700.

· bring in a person from San Diego to check out the hospital's X-ray machine and CAT scan equipment — $500.

"That's the lowest price we could find," Falcon said.

"We" is Falcon and Heffernan board Chairman Mark Perrone.

· do something with the diesel tank buried behind the hospital.

"We've got to remove it now!" Falcon said.

Perrone added, "The city might be willing to pay for moving it if we have a firm commitment from someone to start up an urgent-care center."


For more than six months, the Heffernan board has been working with Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo of Brawley to open a late-night urgent-care center in the long vacant hospital building.

· do something with the trailer behind the hospital.

"We need to rent it — fix it and then move it," Falcon said.

Trustee David Ouzan said the board might want to move the trailer before it is rented.

"Sure. OK. No problem. I'm for that. Doesn't really matter," Falcon said.

Doing something with the trailer is imperative as it has been the target of vandals recently, Perrone said. He said the district's maintenance man would move all the tables and chairs that had been in the trailer into the hospital.

· make sure the hospital building is secure.

Falcon recommended installing an alarm system. Perrone said there would be an initial cost of $3,000 to $4,000 and after that $20 to $50 a month.

After a few months the system would start saving the district money, he said.

Since the hospital closed in early 1998, the district has paid around $1,000 a month to a security guard who drives by the property periodically. That system hasn't prevented the hospital from four recent acts of vandalism.

Recently someone threw a chair from the trailer through a hospital window, Perrone said.

· pay HMC Architects $5,000 to conduct a feasibility study. Perrone said the study was necessary so the hospital district board could figure out the best way to divide the property for prospective renters.

Falcon asked the district's attorney, Eduardo Rivera, to look over the contract with HMC before the board signs it.

Rivera recommended allowing him time to look over the contract and "consider the process you're using to award a $5,000 contract."

"So we'll table it then," Perrone said.

Rivera nodded.

After Falcon finished reading from his envelope, George Thomas of Brawley presented himself to the Heffernan board. Thomas is a "proposal writer" who works with Clinicas and Campesinos Unidos.

Weeks earlier he appeared before the Calexico City Council offering his services to look for funding for a new Calexico hospital and pocket a percentage of whatever money he brought in. At the Heffernan presentation Thomas stressed he is not just a proposal writer. He mentioned his role as an administrator with Campesinos and the years of experience he gathered during his time overseas.

Thomas said there is tremendous need for a hospital in Calexico.

Perrone asked him how much money he had garnered for Campesinos and Clinicas. Thomas said upward of $4 million.

Perrone asked him if he had time to devote toward a Calexico hospital project, considering all his other commitments.

Thomas said something was "brewing up" that he would know more about in a week but even if that project comes to fruition he would still want to work to bring a hospital to Calexico.

Trustee Norma Apodaca asked Thomas where he would look for the millions of dollars that would be needed to build, staff and run a new hospital. Thomas said he couldn't just blurt out all of the sources he would utilize.

Thomas said he is confident that he could be the man to help build a hospital in Calexico because of his track record.

"I know it can be done," he said.

Perrone asked Rivera, "What would be the next step?"

"Thank him," Rivera said.

The board did. Thomas left.

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

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