AGANA HEIGHTS, Guam (NNS) - Navy officials participated in a ground-breaking ceremony for the $158 million Naval Hospital Guam replacement project Jan. 14 aboard the installation in Agana Heights, Guam.

"Today, as we officially break ground on a new, state-of-the-art, world-class healthcare facility, we celebrate the vision that began more than 16 years ago when members of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery started to talk about the possibility of a replacement facility for Naval Hospital Guam," said Capt. Kevin Haws, Naval Hospital Guam commanding officer. "Detailed discussions and planning involving thousands of man-hours and countless personnel - designers, architects, and construction firms, as well as Navy facilities and Navy medicine staff - led us to where we are today, on the brink of opening the next chapter for Navy medicine on the island of Guam."

Haws said the current hospital opened in 1954. Since that time, staff have delivered more than 25,000 babies, admitted and cared for more than 100,000 inpatients and have seen in excess of 1 million outpatients.

By contrast, Haws said when the new hospital is complete it will incorporate advances in healthcare delivery, improve patient life safety and increase efficiencies in hospital operations, while continuing to meet the full spectrum of patient and family centered medical and surgical care for all eligible beneficiaries throughout the lifespan.

"The completed hospital will provide 42 beds, four operating rooms, two cesarean-section rooms and improved diagnostic and ancillary capabilities to include magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanning suites," said Haws.

Guest speaker at the ground-breaking ceremony was Commander, Navy Medicine West Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, who said this new facility is the embodiment of that trust.

"Navy medicine is unlike any other healthcare organization in the world for one simple reason," said Faison. "Everyone who needs our care; everyone who walks through our doors everyday; everyone who comes to us and needs our help is someone who has volunteered to serve our country, or is a family member who has sacrificed so that their loved one can serve, and because of them we are free. They are truly the heroes of our nation."

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Peter Lynch said the new naval hospital will be certified by the Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver.

"This demonstrates that we have the technology and know-how to create functional, attractive and comfortable buildings that conserve energy, water and land without any sacrifice to patient care and convenience," said Lynch. "This environmentally sound and sustainable structure is a significant example of our collective commitment to preserving and protecting our environment, while ensuring the highest quality care for our troops."

Contractors, Watts Webcor Obayashi A JV, will phase the work so the existing hospital remains operational during construction, and the new hospital will be operational before demolition. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2014.

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