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Governor proposes Barrigada site for new Guam medical complex

Design of the proposed Guam medical complex that was originally planned to be built on Eagles Field.

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero is seeking to acquire pieces of ancestral land in Barrigada where she is proposing to build a new hospital in lieu of the now abandoned site selection in Mangilao. The governor this week proposed a bill that would authorize the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission to commence negotiations with her for the sale or lease of the marked properties to the Guam Economic Development Authority for use as the site for the new medical complex. She asked the legislature to include her proposal in the agenda for today’s emergency session that will tackle measures pertaining to Guam Memorial Hospital. The governor also pledged additional funding assistance for GMH. “I join in the legislature’s concern over the deteriorating state of our only public hospital, and I have committed $20 million in ARPA funding to address GMH’s most immediate structural concerns. Additionally, Sen. Jesse Lujan has agreed to amend Bill 164-37, to commit $30 million in appropriations to address GMH’s outstanding vendor invoices. The governor noted that while current bills will address the immediate needs of the hospital, “the only tenable long-term solution to GMH’s structural challenges is the construction of a new facility.” “As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has substantiated, our current hospital site is unable to accommodate critical expansions, lacks the capacity to support substantial construction projects, and ultimately, it would be more cost-effective to construct a new facility rather than fully repair the current one,” the governor said. “Further degradation of GMH’s infrastructure will result in additional non-compliance with national hospital accreditation standards, Joint Commission Standards and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines, among other applicable standards. The bottom line is that our existing hospital is operating well past its useful life, and renovations will not cure its aging infrastructure,” she added.

The governor originally proposed to build a medical complex at the Navy-owned property known as "Eagles Field." The plan, however, was aborted due to a political clash between the administration and the legislature over the terms of the Navy's lease agreement with the governor.

The Navy has since withdrawn the draft lease for the property.

"In the time that has elapsed since the Eagle’s Field lease expired, the legislature has not proposed any alternative sites for the new medical complex,” Leon Guerrero said.

“At my instruction, executive branch agencies have been hard at work to identify suitable properties within the government of Guam inventory, and have identified adjoining crown lands in the municipality of Barrigada that provide the best alternative site for construction of the medical complex. These lots fall under the jurisdiction of the GALC," she added.

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