Military Construction:

Renovation Plans at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center

NSIAD-97-144: Published: Jun 12, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1997.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Office of Public Affairs
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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) plans to renovate building 215 at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA, focusing on whether: (1) the actual workload at Portsmouth affects its requirements facility space; (2) the planned occupants of the bottom six floors of building 215 could move into the replacement hospital; and (3) alternative uses exist for the top floors in building 215.

GAO noted that: (1) the assumptions used to design and size the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center have not materialized as expected; (2) in some instances, the actual workload today is significantly less than anticipated; (3) all indicators of inpatient workload are over 50 percent lower than the figures that were used to size the facility space; (4) reported outpatient visits nearly doubled; (5) theoretically, such overstated inpatient requirements might result in excess space that could be used for other purposes, such as accommodating functions planned for building 215; (6) reusing inpatient space for other purposes would not be practical because the new hospital is nearly complete and costs to redesign and rebuild it could be significant; (7) in 1995, project officials authorized the redesign and finishing of about 38,000 square feet of space for $4 million, or about $105 per square foot; (8) in addition, the usability of space in the new hospital is severely constrained; (9) inpatient beds are distributed throughout the hospital according to medical function, so that maternity beds are located near the nursery and intensive care beds are located near the operating rooms; (10) although inpatient workload has decreased by 50 percent, the distribution of this decrease across various medical functions is not even and could result in only small numbers of beds being eliminated from each function; (11) GAO's analysis indicates that fully renovating building 215 is a practical option because some renovation of that building is unavoidable; and (12) Portsmouth officials have identified tenants to fully occupy the top floors, which they estimate will offset about $1.6 million in annual costs to lease space and may avoid $10 million to renovate other substandard space.

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