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Palomar Pomerado’s ‘hospital of the future’ half way complete

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One of the largest medical projects in the country is now 50 percent complete, as construction moves forward on Palomar Medical Center West at Palomar Pomerado Hospital.

As of the first week in August, seven floors of the 11-story 740,000-square-foot project have been completed.

Glass and concrete reinforced panels make up the exterior of the building, with metal studs and wall framing taking up the interior of the medical structure. In addition, the productive drywall has been completed, and some site work such as laying asphalt has also been done.

When completed, the Escondido-area project will be a $940 million medical facility with 288 patient beds (with a possible addition of 360 beds), 12 operating rooms and a trauma center.

Each room is intended for only one patient, and encompasses about 300 square feet with pullout sofas and workstations for loved ones.

The fourth through 11th floors will be dedicated to patients, and the first three floors will be reserved for labs, pharmacy counter and the hospital kitchen.

The $940 million, 740,000-square-foot Palomar Medical Center West will be completed in 2012.

The facility will have split-level inpatient units stacked over a predominantly mechanical floor at level three. The nursing area will sit atop levels one and two, and will include a diagnostic and treatment west wing and predominantly public east wing.

The project will not be seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council because, according to hospital spokesman Andy Hoang, it costs $500,000 to apply for the documentation. However, the project will still be built to LEED standards.

Some of these sustainable and energy efficient amenities will include a “green roof,” which converts a normal building roof into a place where plants and trees can grow. A green roof absorbs rainwater, provides insulation and helps lower urban air temperatures and combat the heat island effect. So far, the soil has been laid down and over the next 60 days, vegetation will be planted so that trees can be large enough to see.

The project will also integrate sustainable and energy efficient materials to reduce the carbon footprint, according to Wendy Cohen, director of facility construction for Palomar Pomerado Hospital.

“Every single floor will have natural light coming in and terraces,” she said.

Construction completed at Palomar Medical Center West as of June 22.

The Palomar Medical Center West is an approximately 38-month project and is expected to be completed by April 9, 2012, with the hospital’s opening day of operation three months after.

“Once the construction of the hospital is complete, administration staff will begin to stock the hospital with supplies needed on an everyday basis,” Cohen said.

According to Cohen, the project will peak at approximately 1,000 workers, with about 150 maximum contractors working on any given day.

CO Architects was hired to design the medial facility.

DPR Construction Inc. is the construction manager on the project, with Palomar Pomerado Hospital acting as the general contractor in the sense that it directly contracted out all of the approximately 85 subcontracting jobs.

“This joint delivery effort has helped us create a more collaborative effort and more efficient way to build the hospital,” said Cohen. “It has saved us time and money.”

DPR assumed responsibility for the project while foundation work was already under way.

The 56-acre master plan of Palomar Medical Center West also allows Palomar Pomerado to expand the campus and renovate the hospital and add new buildings as it sees fit, based on changing technology or the growth of the community.

Cohen said future plans include a tower for more patient care, and clinical and administrative space, in addition to a women’s and children’s hospital and a parking structure.

“Out whole message and goal with this is that we are trying to build the hospital of the future,” said Cohen.

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