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Saint John’s: One More Year of Construction:

Construction on the Saint John’s Health Center replacement project has been going on for 10 years, and it looks like the end is finally in sight.

According to hospital officials, many of the new facilities are projected to open in the summer of 2009.

Planning, fundraising, and getting the appropriate government approvals began in January 1994, right after the Northridge Earthquake caused significant damage to the hospital’s campus. The groundbreaking for the first building, the new Chan Soon Center for Life Sciences, was in August 1998 and the building opened in December of 2004. Work on the second building, the Howard Keck Diagnostic and Treatment Center, started in the spring of 2005 and the building will open in the summer of 2009.

The Chan Soon-Shiong Center for Life Sciences will house the hospital pharmacy, the hospital administrative offices, the Service Center Bio-med Engineering offices, as well as private patient rooms. It will also house inpatient services, including critical care, oncology, orthopedics, a medical surgery laboratory, and food services. The Howard Keck Diagnostic and Treatment Center will contain services for radiology, radiation oncology, the breast center, the emergency department, surgery, women’s services (labor and delivery, post partum, nursery, and intensive care nursery), and the John Wayne Cancer Center outpatient clinics.

After completion, the hospital replacement project will expand many of the hospital’s functions and house many of its facilities in a new way. Maura Winesburg, Vice President of Ancillary and Support Services, says the new emergency department, with its entrance on Arizona Avenue, has been expanded in order “to accommodate more patients and reduce waiting times.” Facilities for surgery, labor and delivery, radiology, and the neonatal intensive care unit will also be expanded in the new configuration. In addition, the hospital’s MRI facility and linear accelerator are now housed on the hospital’s campus rather than the temporary quarters they had been in across the street.

Winesburg also said that the new facilities were built to promote a “healing environment” and therefore include “natural light, use of color, and natural materials [wood and terrazzo, for example], artwork images of nature, and waiting areas with comfortable hospitality style furniture to provide a restful and attractive environment for patients and visitors.”

Before the remodel, the old hospital contained 300 licensed beds of which 230 are currently in use. The reconfigured hospital will contain 273 beds.

Hospital documents state: “More than 60 percent of the money needed to finance the project has been raised.” Mirror inquires to find out the budget for the entire project or the sources of the financing were not answered.

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