Holtville tribune

Groundbreaking Sets PACE for Elder Care in Valley


IV Regional Chamber, City of Imperial, Innercare, GAFCON, and Others Come Together for Event to Celebrate New Healthcare Facility Slated for a 2025 Completion

IMPERIAL — Golden shovels leaned against a table display lined with hard hats set up in front of construction equipment to mark the groundbreaking Innercare’s soon-to-be underway PACE Center — “Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly” — at Highway 86 and Neckel Road in Imperial.

Dozens of invested parties and local supporters all gathered near the construction site on Thursday morning, Dec. 7 to celebrate the first-of-its-kind multi-service healthcare facility which has been under development over the last year.

With an estimated completion date noted to be in 2025, the new Innercare PACE facility will be a mecca for senior citizens’ healthcare in the Imperial Valley. The $36 million project, funded by the North American Development Bank, will include a full spectrum of healthcare services including behavioral health, radiology, chronic disease management, dentistry, a full-service public pharmacy and more. 

One of the core values in the PACE program is making it possible to maintain personal independence for elderly citizens by bridging the healthcare gap in a one-stop-shop healthcare facility, removing the need to live in a nursing facility for continuous care, according to information provided.

“The PACE Program will allow citizens to remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible,” said Paul Najar, senior vice president and general counsel of GAFCON Development, the party responsible for construction.

Once completed, the nearly 55,000-square-foot, multi-story facility will be one of the first things citizens see as they make their way into Imperial from the north side.

The Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce welcomed the crowd under white tents to the groundbreaking event with the city of Imperial, Assembly member Eduardo Garcia’s office, representatives from both Sen. Steve Padilla and Congressman Raul Ruiz’s offices, and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. The elected offices all handed out certificates of recognition to Innercare, GAFCON, and NADBank representatives for their combined work to make this healthcare facility come to fruition.

“The chamber is proud to support businesses like Innercare that align with our mission of fostering economic development, promoting local business and enhancing the quality of life for our residents,” Sher Cowie, Regional Chamber president, said. 

Yvonne Bell, president and chief executive officer of Innercare, graciously accepted a commemorative golden shovel engraved with the groundbreaking event details from the chamber. Cowie declared, “Let this (groundbreaking) be a symbol of seeds that we plant today for a healthier, more prosperous city of Imperial.”

Assembly member Garcia commended the hard work of Imperial’s mayor on her efforts to push forward this monumental business growth. “It’s the transformation and a transition to making sure that every resident of Imperial County has an opportunity to access high-quality healthcare within their reach.

“When you invest in people, you’re raising the bar of quality of life,” he added.

District 3 Imperial County Supervisor Michael Kelley spoke briefly, stating, “It is so important to all of us to have a bona fide dynamic healthcare system be offered to our residents.

“This was a grand slam to win the healthcare systems of Imperial County,” he said proudly.

Imperial Mayor Katie Burnworth recognized the PACE facility will fulfill crucial needs in the community. “This is one small piece to creating a better healthcare system throughout Imperial County,” she said.

“With a new senior housing development just down the road, this healthcare facility will resolve a much-needed gap in patient care for elderly citizens,” Burnworth continued.

Gafcon and NADBank Proud of Development

GAFCON’s Najar boasted,“The new facility will employ over 150 people in staff. The facility will be able to service nearly 500 patients a day, in all areas of healthcare.

“It will be the first healthcare clinic offering healthcare services to all ages, the first dental clinic in the city of Imperial, the first full-service pharmacy welcome to patients and residents …” Najar said of the PACE Center’s many achievements.

Salvador Lopez, chief environmental officer of NADBank, spoke to the crowd about the Leading Energy and Environmental Design certification that was given to the facility. “When the building is done, it’ll be certified as a sustainable, cost-saving, highly-efficient, green building,” he said.

Lopez added the PACE Center will be “reducing energy amounts by 25 percent and water consumption by 43 percent when compared to a typical building of this size.”

Healthcare Architecture

After the ceremonies, guests were invited for hors d’oeuvres at the under-construction neighbor, Cambria Hotel, which GAFCON is also building. GAFCON’s Najar was proud to declare, “Our architect is a specialist in PACE Centers. He’s done more than anybody else in the entire state of California.”

GAFCON sought out architect Raymond Fox of Raymond Fox and Associates, a San Diego-based business, whose professional specialty focuses on healthcare facilities and keeps the needs of the specific businesses in mind when creating the blueprints for offices. Fox expressed confidence in his capabilities and looks forward to seeing this groundbreaking project through to the end. “We have the expertise.”

“When we built one of these buildings in Los Angeles, nobody cares. But when you build that in Imperial — it’s everything. Once you add that perspective to it, it changes your thinking. It’s a much more intimate process, with a more intimate community that cares about this,” he said warmly of the Imperial Valley culture.

Read more at:
Holtville Tribune

Gafcon, Inc. provides comprehensive services in program and project management, construction, and development. The company’s techniques and methodology were developed as a response to increasing client demand for more effective controls, focusing on controlling cost, time and quality. Gafcon’s diverse portfolio includes projects from the educational, public works, governmental, commercial, and residential sectors. As an award-winning firm, Gafcon has been recognized in Engineering News-Record's Top 50 Program Management and Top 100 Construction Management Firm lists. Learn more at

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Johnson | | 858.875.0010

Read Next