Scripps Encinitas announces expansion

ENCINITAS — Scripps Health announced a $2.6 billion building campaign that will include the completion of the third phase of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas’ multimillion dollar renovation, officials announced this week.

Officials with the regional health care system unveiled its master plan this week, which includes plans for, among other things a 185,000-square-foot, three-story acute care building at Scripps Encinitas, which will replace the hospital’s main building.

The plan also includes a three-story, 68,000-square-foot medical office building, upgrades to the hospital’s central energy plant and seismic retrofitting of several other buildings.

Hospital officials said the plans, which will be completed by 2024, signal — among other things — the health care system’s continued commitment to the hospital’s service area.

“People take hospitals and health care for granted until they need it, but it is a critical part of the infrastructure of all of North County,” said Chris Van Gorder, the system’s president and chief executive officer. “It (the campaign) shows that we are extraordinarily committed to North County, especially coastal North County, and we are going to be there for a long, long time.”

Van Gorder said the hospital has struggled to keep pace with the region’s rising hospital demands, and the project goes a long way to helping it reach those goals.

“As you know we expanded our critical care capacity and emergency department services several years ago,” Van Gorder said. “And as shocking as it sounds, as soon as it opened, it was too small, we were already bursting at the seams.

“Some patients in North County have to be transferred to (Scripps) La Jolla simply because of capacity needs, and we don’t want to do that,” he said.

The Encinitas campus’ segment of the building campaign will cost around $300 million, Van Gorder said.

The Nov. 6 announcement comes three years after Scripps completed the $94 million second phase of the hospital expansion, which included the opening of a new emergency department and inpatient rooms, called the Leichtag Foundation Critical Care Pavilion.

Scripps Health held the grand opening of its new emergency department and inpatient rooms at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas in 2014, the centerpiece of the $94 million second phase of the hospital’s expansion.

Van Gorder said the third phase will essentially complete the creation of a state-of-the-art facility in Encinitas.

Because Scripps received approval for all three phases of the building campaign as part of its master plan that went before the city of Encinitas in 2009, the project won’t have to go before the Planning Commission.

“As part of this campaign, Encinitas will be one of our highest priorities,” Van Gorder said. “Since we have the approvals in place … we will be up there sooner than any place we’ll build.”

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