SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 9, 2023) – With pre-construction work on its ER-OR expansion nearing completion, Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice is poised to kick off construction.
Last week, crews began preparing the north/west wall of the 28-bed Emergency Care Center (ECC) for the expansion. Workers are reframing the existing interior wall to create a safe zone for the exterior wall demolition and construction of the 30,000 square-foot expansion.
The $90 million expansion, slated to be complete in December 2024, will expand the hospital’s emergency care and surgical capacity to help meet the pressing healthcare needs in south county.
Hospital staff reconfigured the ECC triage and lobby waiting area to help with operational flow, but no changes were necessary to the walk-in or ambulance entrances, or the helicopter landing pad, which are located a safe distance from the construction zone.
The initial demolition/construction is expected to last four months. Work will be scheduled in phases, so that no more than one to two emergency rooms will be closed at any one time. Similar buffering will protect the building’s second floor surgical suites, which are located far enough away that no rooms will need to close due to construction. Most of the work planned on the second floor will take place at night to minimize construction noise during the day.
Once the exterior wall is down, there should be no obvious impact on patient flow or operations within the hospital, SMH-Venice Campus President Sharon Roush said.
“It is an active construction site, so some noise from heavy equipment and power tools is inevitable,” Roush said. “But we are working closely with our contractors and implementing a number of soundproofing measures to help block noise from entering the building.”
SMH-Venice reached full capacity within a week of opening in November 2021. The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board approved adding a third patient care tower to SMH-Venice prior to its opening to help meet the pressing need for more hospital beds in south county. As volumes continued to rise, due in part to the unexpected and abrupt closure of ShorePoint Health-Venice in the summer of 2022, the Hospital Board approved the ER-OR expansion and related projects.
Emergency care visits exceeded projections by 30 percent and are expected to double over the next 10 years. The ER expansion now under way will increase the number of ECC exam rooms from 28 to 62, including two additional resuscitation rooms, for a total of four. Diagnostic capabilities also will expand, with additional radiology rooms and space for a new CT scanner in the ECC. To meet higher than expected surgery volumes, SMH-Venice is increasing its number of surgical suites from six to eight by the end of this year, and creating space for eight more ORs in the future.
When it opens in 2024, the 5-story patient care tower now under construction will double the hospital’s bed capacity from 110 private patient rooms to 212. The tower will open in phases, starting in April 2024 with the 4th and 5th floor, each with 34 patient rooms, followed by the second floor with 34 more patient rooms by year end. The third floor is dedicated to mechanical space, while the first floor will be built to accommodate future needs.
About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System / SMH-Venice
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, provides services for more than 1 million patients each year across its 2 hospital campuses, freestanding ER, and network of outpatient and urgent care centers. Founded in 1925, Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota, is a regional referral center for highly specialized care, including trauma, oncology, orthopedic, neonatal intensive care, pediatrics, and acute behavioral health services. SMH-Venice, the health system's second acute-care hospital, is a full-service hospital that opened in November 2021 to serve the rapidly growing south Sarasota County region. Located at the intersection of Laurel Road East and Pinebrook Road, SMH-Venice is equipped to offer a full array of hospital services, from emergency and intensive care, to specialized surgery and care for cardiac, stroke, orthopedic, obstetrical patients, and more. Visit smhvenice.com to learn more.