Monthly Archives: January 2009

New Edgemoor Hospital Almost Ready

The New Edgemoor Hospital

Last Saturday (January 23) the new Edgemoor Hospital opened its doors to the public for an Open House from 9:00-12:00.  If you know anything about the Edgemoor situation, you know that the old hospital has been totally inadequate for decades.  You also know that the discussions/arguments about its replacement have been going of for about as long.  In Saturday’s Union-Tribune there was a rather negative opinion piece written about the hospital and the County’s lack of effort to provide clear details on the cost of the project as well as other information.  I won’t go into details about the article – if you would like to read it for yourself (Edgemoor: A three-hour denouement to a three-decade debacle) you can.  I would rather spend time talking about the facility itself and some of the people I met there.

Walkway to Main EntranceI wasn’t sure what to expect at first; after all, the U-T writer had called the old hospital an “utter embarrassment” (no argument there) and that “the new facility seems to be continuing in the same vein.”  I’m not sure what the writer meant by that, but if you overlook the politics of the project and look only at the hospital itself, the new Edgemoor is about as far from an “embarrassment” as can be.  Although the weather was less-than ideal, you can see in the lead picture that this is a very attractive complex.  I rather like the combination of colors used on the exterior – not overly bold, but still bright enough to give a welcoming feeling.  The facility has a collonaded walkway leading to the main entrance, and on the west side of the walkway is a huge enclosed open area that can be used for many functions.  The lobby is bright and open, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the two exterior walls.  In fact “open” is the hallmark of this facility, as you will see.

Front CourtyardMain LobbyThe new Edgemoor has two floors, with three patient sections on each level.  These sections are made up of a “Great Room” with space for visiting, activities, and some patient services, and three wings of patient rooms.  In the center is a Nursing Station with a clear view of the Great Room and the hallways to the patient rooms.  These sections, Barona, Santa Maria, and Pico downstairs and Carillo, Sierra, and Monte Vista upstairs, are designed so that all of the Great Rooms open on enclosed interior courtyards.  The upstairs sections all have large balconies overlooking the courtyards, so patients can still be taken outside.

Barona Great RoomBarona Nursing Station


Outdoor Courtyard

The semi-private patient rooms are also designed with an eye to openness and light.  Each room is actually two smaller rooms that share some elements but still provide for patient privacy.  In addition, the wing design of the building allows every patient to have a window that looks out either on a courtyard or outside the facility.  I was impressed with the structure of the windows – double paned with blinds in between the panes.  This allows for the use of the blinds without the need to clean them (a very tedious job if you’ve ever done it).  Now remember, these are hospital rooms and not something you would find at the Hilton Hotel; but they are a huge improvement over what the old facility provided.

Typical Patient Room

One area where the rooms are different is upstairs in the Close Watch wing.  This section is for patients who, for whatever reason (health, mental stability, etc.) need closer supervision than can be provided in the typical room setups.  The rooms in the Close Watch wing allow for three patient beds in one large room, but still provides some individual amenities as well as curtains for privacy when needed.  The three beds all share one large bathroom, and the open design provides nurses and other care givers with easy access and views of the patients.

Close Watch Room

I was also impressed with the Rehabilitation Gym on the upper level.  The gym has equipment to help patients with both gross motor (legs, arms) and fine motor (hands, fingers) therapy.  As with almost every other room, it has windows to provide light and to help alleviate the “locked up” feeling that long-term care facilities can have.  Research has shown that the more positive an experience these long-term patients have the better their overall health will be, and access to sunlight and views of the outside are part of this.

Rehab Gym

Gwenmarie Hilleary, Hospital AdministratorOf course, the finest facility is no good without dedicated, caring people – and the people I met at the Open House are all that and more.  Gwenmarie Hilleary, Hospital Administrator, was at the front door to welcome visitors and tell them a little about the new hospital.  Throughout the facility nurses, aides, and other workers were available to answer questions and point visitors in the right direction.  I also had the opportunity to meet Rebecca Ferrini, Medical Director for the hospital, and ask her a few questions about the next steps.  She explained that the building has to go through facility reviews from various government agencies before a limited number of patients can be brought over from the old hospital.  After a few more months the facility will be re-evaluated to make sure that these patients are getting proper care.  Only then will the rest of the patients be brought over and the old facility closed to make way for the possible expansion of Las Colinas (more on that another time).

If you are interested in any more information about Edgemoor Hospital you can check the San Diego County website here.



Filed under Community

Crime Alert

This is a request for assistance from the Santee Sheriffs Department:


On December 29th at 10:00pm near the Arbors Apartments (Mast & Magnolia Park Drive) (a block east of 7-11) a group of about 8 young men (in their 20’s) approached 3 high school kids.  For no reason, one of the young men assaulted one of the high school kids, causing thousands of dollars of serious facial damage.  The young man that attacked the high school kid may have suffered a damaged or cut hand.

$1,000 REWARD for information leading to the arrest and conviction of this individual.  Please call Detective Whiteman at (619) 956-4030

Santee is a great community, and we all need to work together to keep it that way.  If you have any information at all, please let the Sheriffs Department know so that we can keep our community safe.


Filed under Community, Crime Watch

Upcoming Chamber Events

The Santee Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly After-5 Mixer on Thursday, January 15, at Liberty Tax Service, 9535 Mission Gorge Road. This is a great opportunity to meet and network with other local business owners. The Mixer runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Sunrise Santee, another monthly activity, will be held on Tuesday, January 20, at Hometown Buffet, 275 Town Center Parkway, beginning at 7:30 am.

As always, if you have any questions about these activities you can call the Chamber office at 619-449-6572.

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Filed under Business, Chamber Activities

Open Letter to San Diego County Supervisors Re: Las Colinas

Dear San Diego County Supervisors
I am writing to oppose the planned expansion of Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility at its current location in Santee.  The County of San Diego is wasting an opportunity to develop a very valuable parcel of land as a tax-producing project.  In addition this expansion will encroach on several sensitive locations, including a pre-school, a senior housing neighborhood, a park, and the expanding central business district.
The argument has been made that Santee is a central location, which would be valid if arrests were evenly spread around the county.  However the majority of arrests resulting in transport to Las Colinas take place south of I-8, which makes relocation of the facility to the East Mesa area more sensible.
I have read the EIR, and I find that it ignores or downplays many negative impacts of this project.  In addition, it also ignores the benefits of relocating Las Colinas to the East Mesa site.  To my reading, the decision was made before the EIR was even begun, which is not the way it is supposed to be done.
I hope that you will reconsider the decision on the expansion of Las Colinas, and push for its relocation to East Mesa, where a majority of detention facilities and support services are already located.
Stephen Prendergast
Santee Resident and owner/writer of Scouting Santee community blog
If anyone else would like to contact the supervisors, their e-mails are below.  The deadline for comment is 4:00pm today, but I’m sure that continued contact and opposition would be noted.
SupervisorGreg Cox                                                                                                                                                                  
Supervisor Bill Horn
Supervisor Dianne Jacob
Supervisor Ron Roberts
Supervisor Pam Slater

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Filed under Community, Politics

Santee Library Presents Reading & Discussion Series

The Santee Public Library has been chosen as one of fifty in the country to receive grant money to present a series of free lectures developed by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.  The series, entitled “Let’s Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness,” is part of the Fetzer Institute’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness.  Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at CSU San Marcos, will lead these discussions on the themes of love and forgiveness in classic and contemporary literature.

The first work to be discussed will be Homer’s Iliad – not one most people think of for love and forgiveness (especially if you saw the Brad Pitt movie “Troy”).  However, if you read carefully you will find these themes throughout the story.  Professor Stoddard-Holmes will take participants through passages from this epic poem, discussing how these two themes work their way throughout.

This first of five meetings will be held Saturday, January 10, beginning at 10:30 am.  The series is sponsored in part by the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the Santee Community Collaborative, and Friends of the Santee Library.  The full schedule of discussions is:

January 10 – Iliad by Homer

February 14 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

March 14 – Embers by Sandor Marai

April 11 – The Guardians by Ana Castillo

May 9 – Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

For more information, contact the library at 619-448-1863.

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Filed under Chamber Activities, Community