Camp Pendleton hospital nears completion

Facility to open in January 2014

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Visible for miles off Interstate 5, a multi-million dollar, 500,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art hospital is nearing completion at Camp Pendleton.

"For all those drivers on I-5, this is a symbol of the nation's commitment to our men and women in uniform and our families," said Cdr. Dude Underwood with Naval Facilities Command.

The project, the largest in the federal stimulus package, broke ground Dec. 2, 2010.

"A project like this would normally take seven years to build out," Underwood said.

The facility was sorely needed, as the old hospital on the base did not meet seismic requirements. The new facility will also be a sea change for naval medicine.

"In the past, we'd admit patients for seven days to two weeks. The old hospital has 450 beds, this one, only 60 because, thanks to advancements in medicine, we're more focused on prevention on an outpatient basis," said Cdr. Dale Ramirez with the Naval Hospital.

Three years to the day from groundbreaking, medical departments will begin moving into the new facility on Dec. 2.

The move and training will continue through December and the facility will be open for business late December.

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