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Will the Naval Hospital be moved? Depends on the funding

BEAUFORT -- Plans to move the Naval Hospital in Beaufort across town to the Marine Corps Air Station have been submitted, but the new facility won't be built until -- or unless -- the project receives funding, officials said.

A proposal for a new hospital will be reviewed by 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.

"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 (the air

station)."

Commissioned in 1949, the hospital 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.

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