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CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — Parts of U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa are about to undergo renovations, causing numerous clinics and offices to relocate for up to a year.

The renovations are the final steps in a $4 million project funded in 2001, according to Lt. j.g. Howard Smith, the hospital’s Public Works officer. The upcoming work will cost the Bureau of Medicine about $1.5 million. Eight other wings of the hospital were renovated at a cost of about $2.5 million.

In most of the hospital’s second floor and several other areas, ceilings will be taken down and air conditioning ducts ripped out, Smith said. Asbestos removal, if needed, also will be done, he said, and then new ductwork, tile floors and ceilings will be installed and a fresh coat of paint applied. Upgrades also will be made to the hospital’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Radiology, on the second floor of the C Wing, will be the only section to remain in place, Smith said. A pressurized tunnel will be built for patients to access the section.

Several relocating sections are needed 24 hours a day, Smith said, and can’t even “go down for an hour.” So to keep services going at places such as the pharmacy and some specialized clinics, two locations will be open at the same time to make sure service isn’t interrupted.

“We’re not degrading services … our services are going to all remain the same, just in different places,” Smith said. “Our biggest goal is patient safety.”

A new hospital on Camp Foster is in the works, said Amanda Woodhead, hospital spokeswoman, but the repairs are needed as the current facility will be in use for at least 10 more years.

Most renovations should be completed by April 2006, with some sections to be finished in summer 2006.

The hours and phone numbers of the relocated sections will remain the same, Woodhead said. For more information on any of the moves, contact the information desk at DSN 643-7555 or e-mail Customer Relations at

Hospital renovation moves

Department/clinic moving dates and new locations:

Pharmacy: July 16, warehouse on the first floor, Outer Wing near the helicopter landing pad.

Urology: July 30, fourth floor, West Wing within the General Surgery Clinic.

Optometry: Moved — will rotate throughout branch medical clinics.

Opthamology: July 30, Pediatrics Clinic.

Physical Therapy: July 30, Camp Foster, Building 5687.

Radiology: Will be the only section to stay in place on the second floor, C Wing.

Laboratory: Aug. 27, Fleet Hospital, first floor, South Wing.

Chapel/Chaplain’s office: July 23, Cottage 6065 on Camp Lester.

Red Cross: Moved to Camp Foster Red Cross.

Mental Health outpatient clinic: July 30, Cottages 6068 and 6069 on Camp Lester.

Internal Medicine: July 30, third floor, West Wing.

Ambulatory Procedure Unit (Outpatient Surgery) will return to its usual location on the fourth floor, East Wing, on Aug. 6.

— Fred Zimmerman


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