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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The dust of renovation is starting to settle at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa as the facility’s $4.5 million upgrade project nears completion, hospital officials said Tuesday.

For about 10 years, construction to improve the facility’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems has caused a seemingly endless number of clinics and customer service areas to be relocated temporarily to new — sometimes out of the way — locations, hospital spokesman Brian Davis said in a phone interview.

Before the renovation, the hospital’s old heating and air conditioning temperature controls were inadequate, Davis said: “One room would be like an icebox but the room right next to it would be like a sauna.”

The facility also underwent some light cosmetic surgery, he said.

While removing ceilings and walls to replace ductwork, public works officials did some remodeling on the 48-year-old facility.

As construction is completed, departments such as the pharmacy will move, hopefully for the final time, to their permanent locations, Davis said. Construction and final relocations are expected to be complete by the end of August.

“The main thing for patients to remember is that the departments are going to be back in their permanent places instead of oddball locations,” he said.

Hospital officials advise that before visiting the hospital for appointments, patients should verify department locations.

Current department and clinic locations are posted at www.oki.med.navy.mil under the link to “Info for Patients and Community.” Patients also can ask about appointment locations at the information desk at the main entrance.

The current facility will be in use for at least the next five years, Davis said. Groundbreaking for the new hospital, to be located on Camp Foster, is scheduled for 2007.


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