Construction for a new medical city in Riverside County, California is underway as the demolition phase kicked off on July 27, 2010.
A former military hospital is being torn down and the replacement is a 236-acre campus called, "the single most important medical facility in the world." The new complex will occupy property once belonging to March Air Base in Riverside.
There are high hopes for the project to have a major economic impact on Riverside County: 12,500 jobs are projected during the construction phase while 7,200 permanent jobs are needed to carry out the day-to-day operations.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took time from budget negotiations and spoke at the demolition ceremony. He said the facilities will include skilled nursing, assisted living, hotel, retail, and a healing gardens.
The total cost for the project is expected to reach $ 3.3 billion and the demolition phase will be completed within five months. There is 6,000,000 square feet of new construction.
Director for California's Office of Economic Development, Joel Ayala, said "These are not new resources but existing resources" that are being developed.
In a previous groundbreaking ceremony, the March Joint Powers Authority described the project as "a one-of-a-kind medical campus that will provide Inland Empire residents with healthcare from cradle to grave."
The hospital will make use of graduates from a new University of California Riverside medical school and from the Ben Clark Training Center, home of a paramedic and emergency medical technician training center. The March Health Care Campus will also allow Inland Empire patients access to quality local care instead of having to drive to Los Angeles for medical treatment.
The project is also expected to attract technology companies and pharmaceutical companies.
U.S. Rep Ken Calvert has said "this will mean thousands of jobs for the area. That is the issue of the day."
Latest figures show Riverside County's unemployment rate at 14.5%.