Support our mission
 
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December.
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December.
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The new 500,000-square foot Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is scheduled to open in December and serve about 157,000 civilian and military patients.
The new 500,000-square foot Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is scheduled to open in December and serve about 157,000 civilian and military patients. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The hospital's Zen garden, on the 4th floor, is one of many design features included in the new Camp Pendleton hospital in an effort to create a calming environment.
The hospital's Zen garden, on the 4th floor, is one of many design features included in the new Camp Pendleton hospital in an effort to create a calming environment. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
Doctors at the new naval hospital at Camp Pendleton simulate scoping a knee in one of the hospital's operating rooms. The 9 operating room suites at the new facility are equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring capabilities that allow doctors, nurses and medical residents to see how surgeries are progressing on screen without crowding the surgeon.
Doctors at the new naval hospital at Camp Pendleton simulate scoping a knee in one of the hospital's operating rooms. The 9 operating room suites at the new facility are equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring capabilities that allow doctors, nurses and medical residents to see how surgeries are progressing on screen without crowding the surgeon. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
This ICU procedure room is one of four such suites at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton that will help the hospital improve patient care and infection control, officials said.
This ICU procedure room is one of four such suites at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton that will help the hospital improve patient care and infection control, officials said. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton's simulation lab has adult and child simulators, including a pregnant woman that screams, blinks and gives birth, and a baby that cries and moves its limbs.
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton's simulation lab has adult and child simulators, including a pregnant woman that screams, blinks and gives birth, and a baby that cries and moves its limbs. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The waiting areas at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton are designed to be spacious and relaxing and look more like a hotel lobby than a military medical facility.
The waiting areas at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton are designed to be spacious and relaxing and look more like a hotel lobby than a military medical facility. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The physical and occupational therapy clinic at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is equipped with 3 underwater treadmills, shown, as well as exercise machines, driving simulators and a mock apartment to help injured Marines and sailors heal.
The physical and occupational therapy clinic at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is equipped with 3 underwater treadmills, shown, as well as exercise machines, driving simulators and a mock apartment to help injured Marines and sailors heal. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton features inside and outside displays honoring prisoners of war and 28 Medal of Honor recipients who served in the medical corps.
The new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton features inside and outside displays honoring prisoners of war and 28 Medal of Honor recipients who served in the medical corps. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The new 500,000-square foot Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December, replacing the current hospital, which is almost 40 years old.
The new 500,000-square foot Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will open in December, replacing the current hospital, which is almost 40 years old. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
The replacement Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, which opens in December, has 11 windows for filling prescriptions. The current hospital has only 8 windows and fills more than 800 prescriptions per day.
The replacement Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, which opens in December, has 11 windows for filling prescriptions. The current hospital has only 8 windows and fills more than 800 prescriptions per day. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)
This atrium is one of many features designed to give the hospital a more relaxed, welcoming feel.
This atrium is one of many features designed to give the hospital a more relaxed, welcoming feel. (Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The state-of-the-art operating rooms are ready, the trauma room in the emergency department is fitted with special stretchers and lifting mechanisms, the post-partum recovery rooms overlooking the ocean are squeaky clean and the sand in the Zen garden is raked in perfect spirals.

Camp Pendleton’s new, 500,000-square foot hospital will open in December, six months ahead of schedule and $100 million under budget.

The $456 million construction project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The current hospital, built in 1969 and opened in 1974, is located several miles inland, far from the base’s main entry point along Interstate 5. The location was chosen in the 1940s to be safe from bombardment by sea.

The new facility is located a stone’s throw from the main gate and sits on a hill with views of the Pacific.

Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, commander of Navy Medicine West and Naval Medical Center San Diego, said the hospital is the embodiment of the commitment the Navy medical team has to warfighters and their families.

Though the current hospital offers the care Marines and sailors need, the new facility is better designed and positioned for military families, wounded warriors and emergency care, doctors said.

The hospital now delivers about 140 babies each month, and doctors expect that to increase to around 200 each month in the near future, said Cmdr. Billy McCarty, the hospital’s chief medical officer. The new facility has more labor and delivery rooms as well as private post-partum delivery rooms, so recovering mothers and their new babies will not have to share.

The hospital also expects an 18 percent increase in emergency cases because of the new location, and was designed to meet that need, said Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, director of medical services.

Some of the differences between the two buildings have to do with a shift in emphasis to more outpatient care. The older facility was originally built for 584 inpatient beds; the new facility has just 42.

There was also an emphasis on welcoming, open design in an effort to create “a healing environment,” said Cmdr. Scott Kane, director for mental health.

That design includes waiting areas that look more like a hotel lobby than a hospital, a bright, roomy dining facility, landscaped atriums, an outdoor walking and jogging trail and décor that follows a theme for each of the four floors.

And designers hope the calming feeling will start when patients arrive: A 1,500-space parking structure and 1,000 ground lot spaces will mean more than 1,200 more spaces at the new facility than at the old, where patients often arrived late for appointments because of problems with parking.

Staff will begin moving into the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton at the beginning of December, with all services and clinics scheduled to be open and running December 15.

hlad.jennifer@stripes.com Twitter: @jhlad

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up