SARASOTA – Despite challenges to supply chains and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continues full-steam ahead on the new hospital Sarasota Memorial is building at Laurel and Pinebrook roads, conveniently located just off Interstate-75 in Venice.
On April 17, several representatives from SMH and its construction team gathered for a traditional, but socially distanced “topping out” ceremony to celebrate a major milestone — reaching the building’s highest level (in this case 82 feet) and marking the pivotal halfway point in the hospital construction project. In a ritual that dates back to ancient times, the construction team signed the highest beam and hoisted it to the rooftop along with a tree to symbolize bringing life to the building.
“Topping out is a transformational step in a building’s construction, and especially meaningful for the more than 600 workers who have persevered through months of rain, extreme heat, and the many challenges and uncertainties of this pandemic,” said SMH-Venice President Sharon Roush. “It’s also an important milestone for SMH and the residents of south Sarasota County. It brings us ever closer to opening our new facility.”
General contractor Gilbane Building Co. noted that the construction team had worked 390 days and 321,500 hours since site preparation began in late February 2019 to bring the 365,000-square-foot, 5-story hospital to this phase. In recent weeks, the transformation has continued, with crews busily working on exterior walls and windows, framing interior rooms and spaces, and installing electrical, mechanical, medical gas and plumbing systems.
Slated to be complete in the fall of 2021, SMH-Venice will initially have 110 private patient rooms, a 28-room Emergency Care Center and 8 surgical suites. The all-private suites include a 10-bed Labor & Delivery/Post-Partum Unit, where women can deliver and room with their babies throughout their recovery. The 65-acre hospital campus is designed to be flexible and expandable, with the capacity to expand to 300 patient rooms, 16 ORs and a 50-bed Emergency Room to accommodate future growth.
Sarasota Memorial expects to open the Venice hospital with 600-700 staff members and bring its extensive physician base farther south, which in turn will help build the medical staff for a future SMH hospital in North Port.
About Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice
SMH-Venice is a full-service acute care hospital designed to serve the growing south Sarasota County region, and the most significant expansion in Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s 95-year history. The 65-acre medical campus will feature a 110-bed, hurricane-hardened hospital; medical office buildings with physician and specialty care practices; an energy center for emergency power; and seamless integration with the resources and expertise of the entire Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. Consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals, with superior patient outcomes, Sarasota Memorial offers a complete continuum of care – from trauma, emergency and urgent care, to laboratory, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation and skilled nursing. SMH was named among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson Health in 2019 and remains the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest 5-star quality rating since the evaluation system launched in 2016.