By Jim Shilander

Proponents of the current Saddleback Memorial Medical Center-San Clemente campus have put forward their own proposal for the future of the site—one they hope will allow for the continuation of emergency services uninterrupted while out-patient services are expanded.

Dr. Gus Gialamas of Save San Clemente Hospital announced the proposal during Tuesday’s San Clemente City Council meeting. A resident, he said, had agreed to donate $250,000 toward the design of a new facility, which would add a multi-level parking structure to the current footprint. Under the proposal, a portion of the current hospital facility would be kept open as an emergency room while a three-story, 60,000-square-foot hospital building would be built on the south end of the current emergency room. In a second phase, the remaining portions of the current hospital facility would be demolished and replaced with a two- to three-story medical office building which Gialamas said could house the outpatient surgical, imaging and other services desired by MemorialCare.

Gialamas said the proposal had the potential to be a “win-win” for the community and the company, adding that he hopes to meet with company officials to discuss the proposal. Hospital administrator Tony Struthers said officials had met informally with members of the advocacy group, and that while Tuesday’s meeting was the first time they were seeing the proposal, he said he felt it relies too much on continuing in-patient services, which are becoming cost prohibitive, given the falling in-patient census of the hospital.

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