New Hospital Planned for Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The District of Columbia is proposing to pay half the construction costs for a new hospital in Southeast Washington to be owned and operated by Howard University.

The 230-bed hospital, dubbed the National Capital Medical Center, would be built on the site of the former D.C. General Hospital, Mayor Anthony A. Williams said Wednesday. It would include a top level trauma center and an office building for doctors and the university.

Williams closed D.C. General in 2001 despite opposition from the D.C. Council, other hospitals and many residents. A network of private community clinics replaced the public hospital.

Williams said he has no apologies.

"I think we did what we had to do," Williams said. "We're building on what we've done - I don't see this as a reversal."

Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert said the new hospital would not interfere with its current medical center, and the university is prepared to operate a second large hospital.

Preliminary plans call for the district to pick up half the $400 million cost. The city would also pay all infrastructure costs as part of the larger development of the area known as Reservation 13.

The university would operate the hospital without subsidies from the city. Outside consultants have completed several feasibility studies on the project, but Swygert said there was still work to complete before an agreement is final.