SARASOTA (August 9, 2022) - Less than a year after opening a 110-bed hospital in Venice, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has started master planning and pre-construction site work on a new medical campus and hospital in North Port.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital-North Port will be constructed on a 32-acre undeveloped site in the 4900 block of Sumter Boulevard near I-75. Sarasota Memorial purchased the parcel in 2007 with a pledge from the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board to invest in the medical infrastructure needed to support a hospital in North Port.
“Building a hospital in North Port has been part of our strategic plan and a longstanding goal of city and hospital leaders for many years,” said Sarasota Memorial Health Care System President & CEO David Verinder. “As we had hoped, the new Venice hospital is expanding and bringing our extensive physician base further south, which provides the support and specialty services we need to move forward with a full-service hospital in North Port.”
Hospital officials met with North Port leaders on Tuesday to discuss preliminary plans and the timeline for city permits SMH will seek before construction begins. Officials estimate it will take about 3 years to plan and begin building SMH-North Port. SMH plans to create an SMH-North Port Neighborhood Advisory Council to solicit input and feedback from nearby residents and businesses as plans unfold.
“If the pre-construction and permitting work proceeds as planned, we hope to see the foundation taking shape in 2025, the same year we celebrate our health system’s 100th anniversary,” Verinder said.
Founded in 1925, Sarasota Memorial is the region’s only public health system. Through the decades, the county’s first modern hospital grew from a modest 32-bed facility to an 895-bed regional medical center, a 5-star rated facility that has been repeatedly recognized as one of America’s best and safest hospitals. Its comprehensive network includes a second acute-care hospital that opened in Venice in November 2021, as well as more than a dozen urgent care centers and outpatient campuses that stretch from north Manatee County to its freestanding ER and healthcare center in North Port.
SMH-North Port will be the health system’s third acute-care hospital and the first hospital for the city of North Port. With more than 80,000 residents, North Port is now the largest city both in land mass and population in Sarasota County, and one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.
“The want and need for a first-class medical facility in the North Port community is palpable, and has been for many years,” City Manager Jerome Fletcher said. ”This meeting was just the beginning of the discussion, and the City looks forward to hearing more about how we can support the plans and the economic development opportunities a new hospital will bring to North Port.”
Sarasota County Public Hospital Board Chair Sharon Wetzler-DePeters said SMH-North Port will be a historic milestone for the community and a source of pride for the hospital board. It is particularly meaningful for her and three other board members living in south county, Greg Carter, Darryl Henry, and Joseph DeVirgilio, Jr.
“As the governing board for this vital public institution, we are proud of the critical role Sarasota Memorial and its exceptional staff have played in this community for nearly a century,” DePeters said. “After nine decades of caring for this community as a single hospital system, we now have a second hospital and soon will have a third to serve the growing south county region. It has taken years of careful forethought and planning, and will take considerable staffing and financial resources to achieve this milestone, but we have committed the resources to move forward immediately with the work needed to begin building SMH-North Port.”
The size, cost and construction schedule for the hospital are still being finalized. SMH is working on a campus design that will be flexible and expandable. Initially, SMH-North Port will open with about 100 beds, but have the capacity to more than double in size to meet the community’s evolving needs.
SMH-Venice has operated at full capacity since its first week, pointing to the pressing healthcare needs in south county communities. With higher than anticipated volumes from day one, SMH-Venice leaders have already began work on a patient care tower that will add 68 more private patient suites by early 2024.
SMH-North Port will offer a comprehensive range of acute medical, surgical and specialty care, outpatient programs and diagnostic services, as well as space for educational and support programs. The facility will be hurricane hardened with a back-up energy center and seamless connection to the electronic medical records, clinical systems and specialized support of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System.
The campus will include medical office buildings with primary and specialty physicians, including Sarasota Memorial’s growing First Physicians Group network. In a related move, SMH also is updating plans for a health care campus on property it owns in nearby Wellen Park and its existing North Port facility.
For future updates on the new hospital and health care facilities in North Port, visit: smh.com/NorthPortUpdates
About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 1 million patient visits each year across its two hospital campuses, freestanding ER, and network of outpatient care centers. Its flagship 895-bed Sarasota hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a comprehensive network of services. The public health system opened its second acute-care hospital, SMH-Venice, in November 2021, with 110 beds and full range of specialties to serve south Sarasota County. Visit smh.com for information.