SoHum Health is in the design and documentation phase for constructing a new hospital and clinic to serve Garberville and surrounding communities. The new facility to be located at 286 Sprowel Creek Road in Garberville, will replace Jerold Phelps Community Hospital and SoHum Community Clinic’s current building, which is unable to meet approaching statewide seismic requirements. Ratcliff Architects out of Emeryville, CA are creating the master plan and design. It is expected that the new facility will open to patients in January 2029.
SoHum Health’s project steering committee is comprised of the Hospital Administrative team, the Clinic Medical Director, a Governing Board member, and a Foundation representative. They are keenly focused on designing a facility that reflects the values of Southern Humboldt and meets community health needs in the most efficient and insightful way possible, with room to grow into the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Ratcliff Architects?
Founded in 1906, Ratcliff Architects have built a reputation for designing spaces that integrate physical, functional, and cultural elements in artful and holistic ways. The firm has extensive experience designing healthcare facilities and community hospitals throughout Northern California including projects for UCSF, Stanford, and Kaiser. To view a portfolio of Ratcliff’s work in healthcare, visit: ratcliffarch.com/healthcare
Will there be any new services added?
The design team will be intentionally creating spaces within the facility that can be flexed and reconfigured to use for different purposes, as new health needs arise in the future. There will also be space allotted for specialists to come offer services at the hospital, on a rotating basis. SoHum Health will consider several new services, including podiatry, bone density scans, and dialysis.
When is it supposed to be done?
Groundbreaking is slated to occur in February 2026, with the Grand Opening in January 2029.
What will happen to the old Hospital building?
The current building that houses Jerold Phelps Community Hospital and SoHum Community Clinic will continue to be used. SoHum Health will expand the skilled nursing unit to add more beds for residential care. The remainder of the building will be used for offices, storage, and other needs as they arise.
Will there be an opportunity for community input?
Early stages of the project include input and involvement from two key resources. The first resource is from the healthcare staff and leadership. This includes meeting with SoHum Health representatives from which the Ratcliff Design Team can define the local needs for modernized healthcare services. The second resource is input from the local community. Our design team recognizes the value of community engagement, as the replacement hospital and clinic building will be a significant presence in Garberville. We welcome residents and businesses as part of the extended design team and propose to provide regular progress updates and interactive meetings throughout the course of the new hospital and clinic building project.
Is PG&E going to be able to power this facility?
At the end of 2022, PG&E completed an in-depth analysis of its available capacity and ability to serve Southern Humboldt County. PG&E will be completing capacity upgrades in 2026 and are committed to serving the Garberville Hospital project after those upgrades are done.
Will there be adequate water to support this facility?
Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District has received a will-serve letter from Garberville Sanitation District stating that they will be able to meet the water demands of the new facility.
Where will people park?
Parking is one of the many aspects that the design team will consider during planning. The state mandates a certain number of parking spaces based on the building’s capacity and we will meet those mandates.
Are you going to have a helipad on site?
The requirements for a helipad surpass the needs of our local population. SoHum Health is considering developing a helistop, which has different requirements than a helipad but would still allow the hospital to airlift patients in critical situations.
Are you going to bring back OB?
Unfortunately, no. Offering birthing services at the new hospital would require recruiting and maintaining 24/7 coverage by an Obstetrician, which is cost prohibitive for our District. In addition, the relatively low volume of births in our area would make it impossible for an Obstetrician to maintain their medical skills in performing inductions, C-Sections, and other specialty interventions.
Will there be a cafeteria?
A cafeteria is one of the considerations the architect will review during the design process.
What will happen to the original School/Playhouse building?
The old school building that currently sits on the property will remain intact and in use. Redwood Playhouse will continue in their space, and the rest of the building will be used for conference rooms and other services. The new hospital and clinic are to be constructed on the lot behind the original building.
I’ve seen SoHum Health adding lots of new services lately. Are they using our capital campaign donations to fund these other undertakings?
No, the capital campaign donations that SoHum Health Foundation has gathered are being kept in a separate fund at Humboldt Area Foundation that the Hospital District has not accessed. The District is using its own revenue to fund new health services, that will enhance the long-term sustainability and financial health of SoHum Health.
Why are you still trying to raise money when you’ve already told us you reached your capital campaign goal?
In fundraising for capital campaigns, it is standard practice to include donor pledges in the total amount raised. Fundraising pledges are funds that donors have committed to giving over a set amount of time, which can be months or several years, but that the non-profit has not yet actually received. When SoHum Health Foundation announced that they had reached their fundraising goal, it was including a large amount of “pledged” funds that had not yet been received. As the recent economic fallout in Southern Humboldt has occurred, a small handful of these donors who pledged large amounts have had their financial circumstances change. Thus, SoHum Health is continuing to raise funds for the capital campaign to cover possible gaps and allow the Healthcare District to borrow less money from the USDA.