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North County reacts to population spike with new medical facilities

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The Palomar Medical Center is debuting in Escondido this year to much fanfare.

"This is one of the most technologically-advanced, sustainable hospitals ever built in the nation,” said Leonel Sanchez, media relations manager at Palomar Health.

The $956 million, 740,000-square-foot hospital stands 11 stories tall.

A $496-million bond, Proposition BB, helped largely pay for the 288-bed site, which has the capacity to expand to 360 beds in the future.

Los Angeles-based CO Architects designed the hospital. The San Diego office of DPR Construction was the builder.

The exterior and landscaping of the new Palomar Medical Center.

"[A] mixture of high technology and natural elements were used in the design with the purpose of speeding the healing process for patients,” Sanchez said.

The hospital at 2185 West Citracado Parkway features a 1.5-acre green roof that covers the second-floor surgical area with native, water-wise plants. Terraces and patio seating span every floor.

The surgery and procedures department was designed and built in a way so that surgical spaces can be easily modified without the burden or cost of major renovation.

Construction began in late 2007 and was completed in April 2012. The medical recently opened this month.

The site will employ 1,700, with most of them moving from the original Palomar Medical Center in downtown Escondido.

Scripps’ new radiation therapy center in La Jolla.

That site, renamed Palomar Health Downtown Campus, will remain open but take on a new mission: focusing on women’s and children’s rehabilitation, behavioral health and urgent care services.

Palomar Health also operates Pomerado Hospital in Poway.

In June, Palomar Health broke ground on a $6 million, 7,600-square-foot outpatient medical clinic near Main Street in Ramona, with a scheduled opening for early 2012.

Arch Health Partners, which is Palomar Health’s medical foundation, will be the sole tenant. Key services include an urgent care center. Like the Palomar Medical Center, it's also a Proposition BB-funded project.

In July, Palomar Health opened an express care health center inside an Albertsons store in San Elijo Hills in San Marcos.

The much-needed expansion of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas represents the first addition of new patient care facilities at the hospital in 20 years.

The $94 million second phase kicked off at the end of July with the installation of the first steel column on the campus at 354 Santa Fe Drive.

Completion is expected by summer 2014. The architect is Perkins + Will and the general contractor is Whiting-Turner Contracting.

"The new construction will help fill a critical community need,” said Stephen Carpowich, a Scripps Health spokesman. “The population of the surrounding area has grown by 20 percent in the last 20 years, and the number of annual patient visits has also increased by 20 percent in the same time frame.”

The centerpiece of the Phase 2 expansion will be a two-story, 61,643-square-foot Critical Care Building, which will house 27 private emergency room beds on the first floor and will more than double the size of the hospital’s current emergency department.

The second floor will house 36 acute-care beds, also all in private rooms. The new building will offer improved access to first responders with six ambulance bays, which is three times the number currently available.

The roof will include a helipad, which will be used primarily for transporting patients out of the hospital to a designated trauma center, or for transporting newborns in distress to Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. A series of garden areas for families and staff are designed as part of the ground level between the Critical Care Building and existing hospital.

A terraced roof garden on the building’s second level will be planted with drought-tolerant native grasses and succulents, offering a green buffer from the hospital roof.

The green roof will also capture and use rainwater to create non-medical oxygen, while lowering the temperature of warm spots. Other roof areas are treated with a white reflective material to minimize heat gain.

“The building is designed to reflect its coastline setting. The west-facing exterior will feature a series of panels that resemble sails on the water, while the east-facing side will include landscaped gardens and planted terraces reminiscent of the nearby hillsides,” Carpowich said.

The interior design will exude a beach vibe, with sand-colored flooring and countertops with sea shell accents. Interior walls will feature glass accent tiles and colors in blues, greens and whites to evoke the tranquility of the ocean.

Phase 2 will also include construction of a 10,678-square-foot, high-efficiency central energy plant and various roadway improvements to accommodate the expansion.

The Scripps Radiation Therapy Center, which is nearly finished at 10670 John Jay Hopkins Drive, will have the capacity to treat 1,200 cancer patients annually.

“The [center] will feature some of the most advanced technologies in the world for treating cancer,” Carpowich said.

An opening is scheduled for this fall. The $43.9 million project is designed and built by Freeman-White, with DPR Construction serving as the general contractor.

Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy during their illness, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

The 45,420-square-foot Scripps Radiation Therapy Center will offer new linear accelerators, clinical research space, patient education resource library and more.

The new center will consolidate Scripps Health’s two existing radiation oncology centers, which are now housed at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital.

Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans with more than 9 million members, is also sticking shovels into the ground.

The Carmel Valley Medical Office Building at Shaw Ridge and Carmel Creek roads is a 50,000-square-foot new outpatient building to serve Kaiser’s North County coastal members.

It includes primary care, OB/GYN, pediatrics, medical specialties, radiology, clinical lab, pharmacy and room for growth.

The project is under way, with construction expected to wrap up in May 2013 with occupancy a month later. The architect is Hanna Gabriel Wells Architects and the general contractor is DPR Construction.

Kaiser’s 27,000-square-foot Rancho Bernardo Medical Office Building at 17140 Bernardo Center Drive, also known as the Excel Building, is growing.

An 8,500-square-foot expansion will tack on primary care capabilities and a nurse clinic to the existing leased site. The project got going this month and will wrap up in December, with occupancy slated for January 2013.

The architect is HMC Architects and the general contractor is Swinerton Builders / Excel properties.

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