Visalia blood is going to the bank

Central California Blood Bank gets approval to move to the former Central Valley Community Bank Building on Caldwell

By Nancy Vigran, Reporter for the Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Visalia’s planning commission voted unanimously for a conditional-use permit which will allow the Central California Blood Center (CCBC) to move its local facility from Mooney Blvd. to the former Central Valley Community Bank building at 2245 W. Caldwell Ave. The blood bank can now move forward with its plans, according to Cristobal Carrillo, Visalia associate planner.

The 4,660 square-foot building will require little work on the exterior, but was pretty much gutted on the inside, Carrillo said. It will need additional walls “for staging areas, donation stations, and desk space,” according to Carrillo’s report.

The move is warranted by the need for more space.

“We’ve simply outgrown the space we are currently in,” said Ersilia Lacaze, CCBC director of marketing and community development.

As an arm of the CCBC based in Fresno, the current Visalia location averages 27 donations a day in a combination of blood, platelets and plasma. Donors spend between ½-hour to two hours at the center, depending on their donation. Twice per day, donations are delivered to the Fresno facility for processing.

CCBC hopes to increase its donations in the South Valley. Just how many donor stations the new facility will accommodate is still in the planning stage.

“Our South Valley donors are very faithful,” she said.

But there is a need for more of them throughout the Valley.

“We’ve recently engaged in a rebrand,” Lacaze added.

This includes Tulare County aiming to draw more routine donors. The blood bank services Kaweah Delta Healthcare District Hospital, Sierra View District Hospital, and Tulare Regional Medical Center managed by Adventist Health.

Plans will require approval through the city’s building department. It is expected the process will take two to three months before the new facility is operational.

According to the planning report, based on the building size and use, 24 parking stalls are required to meet the needs of the CCBC’s use. There are 35 stalls currently available within the shopping center area. The four stalls formerly utilized by the bank for drive-thru area, can be used for parking of CCBC vehicles loading and unloading for the blood bank.

Meanwhile, donors are encouraged to pay a visit to the 1515 S. Mooney Blvd. location.

“The need is just tremendous this time of year,” Lacaze said.

The supply diminishes as the flu season effects routine donors, she said.

Donating is really quite easy. It takes about one hour for whole blood donation.

Potential donors must be 18 years old, 16- and 17-year-olds may donate with written parental consent. Donors must be in good health and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Some, with chronic problems such as diabetes or hypertension, may still donate as long as their health issues are under control and they are feeling well. A blood sample will be drawn prior to donation and checked for various infections which could be transmitted through donation. A blood count will also be determined at this time.

Donors will be monitored throughout the donation process including routine blood pressure checks. Upon completion, they will be given a snack and juice, and are asked to remain for a short time to assure they are feeling well following the donation.

The CCBC is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. New donors are always welcome. The South Mooney Blvd. location will remain open until the move.

This article was updated at 1:01 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16

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