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Main Campus Improvements
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A phased approach
Departments slated to move into the new tower include the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery, Orthopedics, Medical-Surgical and Cardiac units and customer support areas. During the next couple of years, a number of other departments will relocate to renovated areas in other parts of the campus.
The improvement project is designed to enhance patient, physician and staff satisfaction, improve safety and meet the community’s changing health needs. It includes a completely re-designed entryway to help patients get to the care they need, quickly and efficiently. Departments in the new tower will connect to their counterparts in the existing hospital, making it easier for people to find their way throughout the institution.
The new facility also will have the best hurricane proofing available to help ensure continuing patient care in the event of a severe storm.
Campus renovations will proceed in phases over the next three to four years, with plans subject to change as Sarasota Memorial takes a “pay as we go” approach.
The project also will include major upgrades to the Critical Care Center over the next couple of years. Current plans call for a pedestrian bridge to be constructed over Arlington Street, linking the South Parking Garage to the Critical Care building. And, two new floors will be built on top of the Critical Care Center to expand surgical capacity.
Another major goal of the campus rejuvenation plan is to enhance medical office space. To that end, the hospital has stripped the Medical Arts building down to its frame and built new physician offices in the 40,000-square-foot structure. The newly renovated building, located on the south end of the campus on Arlington Street opened in December 2009.
Q & A
Q: Why is the hospital building a replacement bed tower?
We have long outgrown many of our aging facilities. Some of our buildings were constructed 40 and 50 years ago, when the hospital only had about 10,000 admissions a year. Now, we care for three times that many people each year, treat 85,000 emergency care center visitors and have crowded Mother-Baby and Neonatal Intensive units spread across the campus. We’ve discussed campus improvements for many years now. While renovation can no longer be delayed, the advanced age of our buildings, combined with our rapidly expanding patient needs and the requirements of new medical technologies, rule out simple updates and expansions. A new care facility, which will replace about 220 beds in the oldest parts of our campus, will bring the hospital into the 21st century in terms of the quality of care we can offer. Just as importantly, it will increase the quantity of care we can offer in response to our area’s rapid growth. Furthermore, the new bed tower will have the best hurricane proofing available to ensure continuing patient care even in the event of a severe storm. Today, if a Category 4 or stronger hurricane were to threaten us, we would have to evacuate patients from our aging buildings and hunker down – under crowded conditions – in the Waldemere Tower. Finally, the tower will help boost our percentage of single patient rooms from 30 to 70 percent.
Q: Where will the replacement bed tower be located?
The replacement tower’s location, selected from three possibilities, will be in front and to the northeast of the hospital’s current main lobby doors, extending to the current energy plant. Cantilevered over Hawthorne Street, the building’s street-level entrance will make it easily accessible. It will be connected to existing buildings – allowing integrated medical services, greater convenience, increased speed of care, reduced crowding, better traffic flow and ease of future renovation. Of the three possible site options, it is the only one that links nursing units in the tower with services in existing facilities. Construction on this site will pose the least disruption to critical care programs and complies with planning/zoning requirements.