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JOHN WILLIAMS, San Clemente

Wanting and needing a hospital in San Clemente don’t make it feasible.

I’d like to see our public officials do their own research before addressing the issues of building a new hospital or modifying the existing buildings with the public. Any communication regarding the refurbishing of the existing buildings and/or constructing a new facility is misleading, at best, if proper efforts aren’t made to know the challenges involved.

In California, construction of hospitals is under the authority of the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), formerly OSHPD. All hospital construction and upgrades must conform to the California Building Code sections that apply strictly to hospitals. The standards are much stricter than those for commercial or industrial construction, and those standards have a significant effect on cost.

Having supervised hospital construction in California for more than 22 years, as well as formerly holding a Class A OSHPD building inspector license, I can assure you that the previously published estimates are far short of reality. 

The existing buildings would be required to be brought up to the current code, making upgrading nearly impossible.

Without estimates from a qualified construction manager who specializes in hospital construction, instead of a PR firm, the budgets will likely not be close to reality. Unfortunately, the city would likely be required to put the project out to bid instead of negotiating a contract. A public bid contract would increase the cost due to the nature of the contracts.

I’m glad to read that a couple of city officials have finally recognized that the challenges and costs of a new hospital are not feasible.

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