ENCINITAS — Over the past few weeks, motorists along southbound Interstate 5 might have noticed a large patch of freshly graded dirt just south of the Encinitas Blvd. off-ramp.
Don’t worry, Encinitas residents — the freeway widening project isn’t creeping further north.
The grading represents the start of another large project: the expansion of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.
“The grading is preparatory work in advance of the start of construction of the new medical office building on Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas campus, which is currently scheduled to begin in July,” Scripps spokesman Keith Darce wrote in an email.
The 68,000-square-foot medical office building is one of the two key pieces of the third phase of Scripps Encinitas’ expansion. The other piece is the construction of a 185,000-square-foot acute care building that will replace the hospital’s main building.
Scripps announced the third phase of the expansion in November 2017 as part of the hospital system’s $2.6 billion overall expansion at its five campuses.
Four years ago, 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.
The third phase is expected to be completed by 2024.