By David L. Coddon
San Diego's active-duty military, veterans and their families are receiving something of an early gift this holiday season, as the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is completed six months ahead of schedule.
The $456 million, 500,000-square-foot, four-story hospital replaces one constructed in 1974. Vernan Ibong, one of the key project managers, describes the facility as "newer, up-to-date and fully integrated."
In addition to more rooms for outpatient procedures and physician examinations, the state-of-the-art hospital will include eight labor and delivery rooms to accommodate all of the babies born on-base. That, in particular, resonates with Ibong, who was previously involved in the construction of Rady Children's Hospital San Diego.
"Hearing everyone from three-star generals to Wounded Warriors talking about the importance of the new hospital... it's hard to beat that," he says. "I'm getting chills just thinking about it."Besides boasting facilities that reflect the latest health-care technologies, the new hospital features sustainable design features - like an open-air atrium and healing gardens - that will benefit not only patients but also the environment.
Some 70,000 active-duty and veteran members of the military and their families will be served at the new hospital. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for January 31; transition to the new hospital from the old one begins in December.
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton facts and figures
Cost of construction: $456 million
Size: Four floors; 500,000 square-feet
Personnel: Approximately 1,100 doctors, nurses and support staff
Services: Emergency, primary, intensive and specialty care facilities
Rooms: 205 examination rooms, 96 outpatient procedure rooms, 54 patient rooms for non-ambulatory patients, eight labor and delivery rooms with 16 post-partum suites.
Answering the call for medical research
There are 100 million reasons to be excited about the second largest donation to UC San Diego in the university's 53-year history - the primary one being that South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford's recent $100 million gift will create the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center and help further researchers' work on stem-cell therapy.
"This is money that will really make a difference in clinical trials and patient care," says the Center's director, Lawrence Goldstein, calling the initiative to develop drugs and cell therapies "new, exciting and bold."