On May 5, the team building the new naval hospital at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, reached the halfway point of its contract.
Managed by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest, the replacement facility is the largest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project for the Department of the Navy.
A firm-fixed–price design-build contract of $394 million was awarded to Clark/McCarthy, A Joint Venture, with planned modifications for furnishings, fixture and equipment, and land bank mitigation credits bringing the total cost to $451 million.
HKS, Inc., is serving as architect.
Offering 500,000 square feet of space, the new hospital will serve as the primary healthcare center for a population of 151,000 active-duty military, retired military, and their families. It will include inpatient medical facilities, ancillary departments, emergency care, primary care, specialty care clinics, operating rooms, and support spaces.
At the same time, thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C., the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center serves that region’s military population, as well as our nation’s leaders.
The $826 million Walter Reed project, completed in September 2011, included approximately 750,000 square feet of new construction, 450,000 square feet of renovations, and infrastructure improvements.
While the two facilities projects are largely similar in scope and mission, the ties between the two certainly run deeper.
HKS and Clark worked on both projects (Clark partnered with Balfour Beatty on Walter Reed), and brought with them a number of insights collected from what went well at Walter Reed, as well as what pitfalls to avoid.
Camp Pendleton is the largest Marine Corps base on the West Cost and operates an existing hospital that was built in 1974. However, due its date of construction, the building does not meet the seismic standards necessary for its California location—a reality that eventually helped push the need for a new-build facility.
“Then when you get in and look at how much different the delivery of healthcare is today versus how it was 40 years ago when the hospital was created, you realize that if you were going to go and do an invasive seismic retrofit, it would be smart to do a remodel, too. But once you consider all of those costs, you pretty soon arrive at the realization that a new facility will be more cost-effective in the end,” says Carlos Gonzalez, PE, project director with Clark/McCarthy, A Joint Venture, and vice president of Clark Construction Group—CA, LP.
“You will spend less money building the new facility and you won’t have interruption of healthcare delivery to customers,” Gonzalez adds.
And that delivery of healthcare has changed dramatically over the years, says Cmdr. Whit Robinson, NAVFAC Southwest's resident officer-in-charge of construction for Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. The care being delivered today is at a much higher throughout, requiring fewer beds and more clinic space.
“That’s what we’re designing here. We only have 60 beds maximum at this hospital, but it’s going to be about a 30% faster throughput for the medical care,” Robinson says.
The location itself is also critical, sitting directly off the Interstate 5 corridor and connecting other Navy healthcare facilities in a row. The existing hospital sits 10 miles inland, a location that potentially discourages families and retirees living off-base to frequent it.