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thedrifter
01-08-09, 08:40 AM
Plan to relocate Naval Hospital awaits funding approval
Published Wed, Jan 7, 2009 12:00 AM
By PATRICK DONOHUE
pdonohue@beaufortgazette.com
843-986-5531

Plans to move Naval Hospital Beaufort to the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort have been submitted, but the new facility won't be built until -- or unless -- the project receives funding, The Beaufort Gazette has learned.

A proposal for a new hospital has been submitted to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, said Sue Brink, spokeswoman for the command, which oversees construction for Marine Corps and Navy projects in seven Southern states, including South Carolina.

An air station spokesman confirmed the hospital's eventual move to its base on Trask Parkway.

"The hospital is scheduled to move, and the proposed location is near the MCAS (Federal Credit Union)," said Sgt. Lukas Atwell, air station spokesman. He referred questions about the timing of the move to the hospital.

Commissioned in 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort occupies 127 acres near Ribaut Road in Port Royal, has 200 beds in its primary clinic and employs about 400 active-duty military personnel and civilians.

"There is a future project on the (military construction) list addressing construction of a Naval Hospital at Beaufort," Brink said. "The earliest timeline for this project would be 2010. If the project makes it through the priority list and is funded for 2010, it would then be awarded and it would be approximately three years before completion once construction starts."

Employees at the Naval Hospital won't look that far ahead, according to a spokeswoman.

"No funding has been allocated to Naval Hospital Beaufort to build a new facility," Gaynelle Dantzler said. "Therefore, there are no plans in place for a new hospital on the Marine Corps Air Station. Naval Hospital Beaufort is not moving to MCAS."

The hospital is a self-contained compound that includes the hospital, 53 single-story homes, two barracks, a Navy exchange retail store, a gas station and convenience store.

The hospital's command also oversees two branch clinics at MCAS Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

The hospital provides medical, surgical and emergency care to all active-duty Marines and sailors, their dependents, as well as retired military personnel living in the Beaufort area.

Ellie