The ground breaking ceremony at Sonoma Valley Hospital became even more of celebration Thursday with the announcement of a $3 million donation. Gary and Marcia Nelson, longstanding champions of the facility, pledged the charitable gift specifically for the new Emergency Center, which will open in 2013.
Hospital CEO Kelly Mather called the gift, the largest in the hospital’s history, “truly historic.”
The price tag of the expansion is $39 million, about $7 million more than financing provided by general obligation bonds. The hospital has begun a fundraising campaign to make up the difference. The Nelson gift erases nearly half that deficit.
“Nothing could be more valuable to us right now than this demonstration of confidence in the hospital’s future,” Mather said.
“The SVH Emergency Room is a critical and essential service to all of us in this community,” said Gary Nelson, founder of Sonoma-based Nelson Family of Companies. “It serves every single resident and visitor in time of need, from the poorest to the most wealthy. We need a state-of-the-art ER with the equipment and staff required to save the lives of our friends and families.”
Nelson and his wife Marcia credit the hospital with saving the life of their infant son, Justin, 30 years ago. “We have never forgotten how fortunate we were to have this hospital nearby.”
Marcia Nelson continued, “We hope our gift will help ensure that quality lifesaving ER services are available for years to come in Sonoma. One can argue about many healthcare issues in the US, but on a day-to-day basis, we need to serve the young, the old, and everyone in between in our valley.”
Actual construction will begin in several months. The project is slated for completion by the end of 2013.