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By Caleb Trainer

July 25, 2012 (Escondido) – Palomar Health is hosting a “community celebration” on Saturday afternoon at the new, 11-story Palomar Medical Center (PMC) here. The district serves north San Diego County, including inland mountain areas.

High above the city, southwest of I-15 and Highway 78, the 288-bed hospital is scheduled to open on August 19th. With the opening of PMC, patients and many of the staff at the former acute care hospital downtown – now called Palomar Health Downtown Campus -- will be transferred to the new facility.

“This is our grand celebration,” said Gerald Bracht, chief administrative officer of the new medical center. “We want the people who live in the communities that we serve to come and see their new hospital. It’s the only opportunity they’ll have to tour the building and see the areas before they become off-limits to the public,” he said, in a prepared statement.

Palomar Health, which claims to be the largest public healthcare district in California, built the 740,000-square-foot hospital with the help of a $496 million bond measure district voters passed in 2004. “Palomar Health has designed a day of celebration to thank the community for supporting the construction of a hospital that was built with the future in mind,” according to Leonel Sanchez, Palomar Health media relations manager.

The event is scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and is free, including food, beverages, tours, technology demonstrations, live music, health screenings and children’s activities. A formal flag raising and ribbon-cutting ceremony is set to begin at 6 p.m.  PMC is located at 2185 W. Citracado Parkway, near the western-most city limits.

Parking for the celebration will not be at the medical center, except for the disabled.

Free parking and shuttle service will be provided from the Palomar Health clinic in San Marcos, the Cal State University San Marcos campus and from several nearby intersections along Andreasen Drive:  at West Citracado Parkway, at Enterprise Street and at Auto Park Way. North County Transit will also be servicing PMC via Route 353 from several locations. Additional transit and parking information, along with event details, can be found at