The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 29, unanimously approved funding for the design and construction services for a $78 million campus for the Orange County Health Care Agency. Officially recognized as the El Toro Campus Project, the Irvine-based space will enable HCA to create a central location for key services.    

Currently located in Santa Ana, the $78 million Irvine-based campus will specifically address capacity needs for emergency medical services, lab testing and medical storage. The new campus will be located on Marine Way in Irvine, near the Great Park. 

In an email to Irvine Weekly, Ellen Guevara, a public information officer with HCA, said construction would begin next summer, with the project expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.     

“The building will provide relocation space for key public health divisions. The campus will allow centralization of key divisions in our organization, that work together, to be in one location,” Guevara wrote. “The build will address identified needs for increased capacity, proximity, and facility upgrades. Proposed construction is slated to begin at the site Summer 2023, with a goal of substantial completion by December 2024.” 

In terms of services set to be relocated, the agency has indicated that the Emergency Medical Services, which includes administration, a pharmacy and the Agency Operation Center, will be coming to Irvine. 

The campus will also be home to a Communicable Disease and Control Division, with a Biosafety Level 3 containment capability. A BSL-3 lab is categorized for the ability to contain potentially lethal, and highly transmissible respiratory pathogens including Anthrax and brucella.  

Guevara explained that during the pandemic, the agency was stretched thin due to a lack of space, adding that the expansion would help address the inadequacies departments like the Agency Operation Center experienced by creating a central location for personnel.  

“During the pandemic there lacked adequate space to accommodate all HCA’s collaborative parties in the Agency Operations Center and staff had to be stationed at multiple site locations,” she said. “The overall function of the new HCA campus is to relocate certain key divisions that work closely together to one location.”

The El Toro Campus project is estimated to stand two-stories tall at approximately 68,000 square feet. The Public Health Lab and BSL-3 lab are listed to be 25,000 square feet, with the Communicable Disease Control division estimated at 22,000 square feet. 

As the project heads into the schematic design, Guevara said she expects renderings to be made public by late February.

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