VICTORVILLE— The contractor to whom the St. Joseph Health System intended to entrust the building of its planned satellite hospital on Amargosa Road has gone out of business.
The $261-million, 128-bed Oasis Campus is to include a Level III trauma center and serve as an adjunct to the existing 202-bed St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley, which is part of the St. Joseph Health System.
St. Louis, Missouri-based HBE Corp., the contractor on the project, announced it would cease operations six weeks ago, triggering inexact rumors about the future of the Oasis Campus undertaking.
According to Randy Bevilacqua, St. Joseph Health, St. Mary’s vice president of strategic services, the failure of HBE represents a bump in the road for the project, but it will continue under a new builder.
St. Joseph will award a dry utilities contract to another company next month and further foundational work to be followed by actual structural work will come later next year.
The hospital annex is being built because the High Desert suffers from a lack of doctors and hospital beds due to rapid population growth. The area has an average of 1.1 hospital beds per 1,000 population compared to 1.9 in California and 2.7 nationwide, according to St. Joseph Health.
Though it was touted as “the nation’s leading design-build firm of hospital expansions,” HBE faltered as a consequence of a downturn in the health care industry as a result of the recession. In 2013, HBE reported revenue declines of 14.7 percent, which followed a 4.9 percent reduction in 2012.