Pomerado, Calif., to See Major Hospital Expansion

POWAY -- In about four years, Pomerado Hospital will finish a radical makeover that will expand the 31-year-old facility.

The hospital will gain a new five-story tower in front, nearly doubling the number of patient rooms to about 200, and a five-story outpatient center. Its emergency services building will be enlarged, and a green garden will be planted for patients to relax in.

Construction of the large outpatient building, west of the emergency room wing, is under way. Also under construction next to it is a four-story parking garage that will have 1,200 spaces. Both will be done in May, said Michael Shanahan, Palomar Pomerado Health district's chief architect.

About 230 construction employees are working each day, said Jose Garcia, the project manager.

The medical building will house outpatient services on the first two floors and the upper three will be occupied by doctors' offices. It will cost about $19 million and is being paid with developer fees, Shanahan said.

The parking garage will cost about $12.5 million, which is included in the estimated $190 million budget for the four-year expansion project, Shanahan said. The hospital has about 450 parking spaces now, he said.

The Outpatient Services Pavilion is designed to meet population growth and emerging surgical trends, said Andy Hoang, a spokesman for the Palomar Pomerado Health district, which operates the hospital and Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. More procedures will become minimally invasive, allowing patients to go home the same day, he said.

Services in the new center will cover gaps in treatment options offered by the hospital now, Hoang said. Patients will be able to get more outpatient exams that look inside the body, X-rays and infusion treatments, he said. A women's center and outpatient surgery center will also be part of the new building, he said.

When the new center opens in October, it will also have an urgent care clinic, which will reduce the number of people who would otherwise fill the emergency room, Shanahan said.

Board member Ted Kleiter said he's pleased to see the growth of Pomerado, planned more than three decades ago. Kleiter oversaw its construction as a former district administrator and knew the hospital would need to be expanded someday.

"We're going to be running out of land at Pomerado," he said.