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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan – Construction will soon begin on a new hospital at Naval Base Guam, the U.S. Navy announced Friday.

The Navy hired a contractor this week to replace the existing hospital with a new $158 million facility, according to Naval Facilities Engineering Pacific based in Hawaii.

The project is scheduled for completion by 2014 but is not part of a planned military buildup on Guam that will include moving 8,600 Marines from Okinawa to the island territory, NAVFAC spokesman Don Rochon said Friday.

A new hospital had long been planned and will be built with military construction money earmarked for medical purposes, not funding projected for the massive realignment effort, Rochon said.

The improvements will provide capacity for future population growth and include the latest inpatient and outpatient technology, according to a released statement by Capt. Kevin Haws, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

The new facility will increase the number of hospital beds from 38 to 42 and allow up to 10 beds to be used for intensive care, said Lt. Daren Verhulst, a medical service corps officer at the naval hospital.

Verhulst said it will also give the Navy base magnetic resonance imagining, or MRI, which is an uninvasive medical procedure used to detect cancer, internal injuries or other health problems without surgery.

The main reason for the project is to replace the current aging hospital, which was built in 1954 around inpatient needs, he said.

“This is a replacement facility. There is not a significant increase in medical services,” Verhulst said. “There will be some improvements.”

Meanwhile, the next step in the project will be a pre-construction meeting in a few weeks where the Navy and the contractor will hammer out the details of schedules and timelines, Rochon said.

The competitive contract was awarded Thursday to a joint venture of Watts Constructors of Honolulu, Hawaii, Webcor Builders of California, and Obayashi Corp. of Japan.

Watts Constructors has recently handled $4.5 billion in construction work on Guam, according to the company website.

The work will include the demolition of the existing hospital and construction of a new facility, as well as expansion of the central utility plant building, new boilers, an emergency generator, and utility service lines from the utility plant to the new hospital building, according to Navy news release.

The work will be phased in so the current hospital will remain open throughout the construction work and until the new hospital opens its doors, the Navy said.


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