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Hospital Plans Dual Dedications : Health care: Women's Center at Pomona Valley Medical Center expects so many visitors that the ceremonies will be repeated.


POMONA — So many people are expected to attend the dedication of the new $50-million Women's Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on Saturday that officials will conduct the ceremonies twice.

The first session will begin at noon with addresses by Dr. Agnes H. Donahue, director of the Office on Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and by hospital President Robert Burwell. They will repeat their speeches to a second audience at 3:30 p.m.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend the two ceremonies and tour the 107-bed facility, which will raise the hospital's capacity to 458 beds.

The first patients will be moved into the three-story addition next week.

The center includes 38 maternity suites, which will help the hospital accommodate an estimated 4,500 births a year. The building also houses surgery suites for Cesarean sections and a neonatal intensive care unit.

The top floor contains a 32-bed medical-surgical unit and a 10-bed intensive care unit.

Construction began in January, 1990, as part of a expansion of the hospital designed to eventually double its bed capacity. In addition to the 150,000-square-foot Women's Center, the project includes work under way on a 40,000-square-foot diagnostic and treatment center.

The hospital, on Garey Avenue north of the San Bernardino Freeway, traces its roots to the turn of the century.

Efforts to build the first hospital in Pomona began after a train wreck on Christmas Eve, 1899. The 30 people who were injured had to be cared for in area homes until they could be taken by horse-drawn ambulances to Los Angeles. Pomona residents raised money for a 12-bed hospital that opened in 1903.

The first hospital was destroyed by fire in 1910, but a 40-bed replacement was opened in 1913 and has been expanded ever since, with a four-story wing in 1954, a six-story wing in 1964 and a three-story wing in 1975.

The hospital has 2,200 employees and a staff of 500 physicians.

Because of the large number of people expected at the dedication ceremonies, hospital officials have asked those interested in attending to register in advance by calling (714) 865-9129.

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