On October 9, Cottage Health hosted a reception in the Compton Courtyard for about 150 major donors to celebrate the completion of the final phase of new construction of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The capital campaign raised $110 million from more than 6,000 donors for the $820 million project. Construction began in 2005 and all new construction is now complete. The only remaining work is the renovation of the existing emergency room, which will take place over the next two years.
President and CEO Ron Werft welcomed the guests and shared how in 1888, a group of women raised $6,000 to build the first Cottage Hospital. This translates into $2.7 million in today’s dollars — an impressive feat for a town that had only 3,500 residents. The women’s biggest fundraiser was selling cigarettes.
Werft explained how there was a State mandate following the 1995 Northridge earthquake for hospitals to rebuild or retrofit to withstand a 7.0 earthquake but that no federal, state, or local funds were provided with the mandate. He shared how having a construction project that stretched over eight phases and 14 years while the hospital continued its operations presented its challenges, but lauded staff and all those in the construction endeavor for their excellent work.
In 2012, a pavilion was dedicated to Lord Paul and Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree in recognition of their lead gift of $10 million, which laid the foundation for the capital campaign. In 2014, a second pavilion was dedicated to the Wood Claeyssens Foundation for its support over the years. And at this event, a third pavilion was dedicated to Dick and Mary Compton in recognition of their $15 million donation.
Mary Compton explained that the spark for their donation was the doctors and nurses at Cottage Hospital, many of whom are longtime friends of theirs, and whom she called the best and the brightest. She related how good health is one of life’s most important assets so they wanted to make this donation for the benefit of the gracious Santa Barbara community.
After the program, donors toured the Arlington and Compton Pavilions, which include the new Children’s Medical Center and the new Emergency Department. Physicians and nurses were stationed throughout to chat with donors about the new facility. Donors also got to experience the new amphitheater, complete with popcorn and candy, where they watched a video about Cottage and the campaign.
The design of the new hospital focuses on a healing environment, with natural light, increased green space, and enhancements to increase comfort. The architects are Perkins Eastman and The Cearnal Collective. A public opening is planned for November 4.
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