UF Health announced on Tuesday that due to anticipated growth in several areas, UF Health officials plan to build a new specialty tower that will house neuromedicine and cardiovascular hospitals.
“Our priority is to put patients first,” said Dr. David Guzick, UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. “We’re experiencing increasing demands for our services, and our hospitals have maintained such high patient volumes that we frequently are functioning at full capacity.”
“In our main hospital, we were just out of space,” he said. “This will let us to improve the experience for patients and decompress out into more space.”
The new tower will be located on UF Health’s south campus, just east of Archer Road near the visitor parking lot for the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. The estimated 540,000-square-foot facility will likely feature about 240 beds. The neuromedicine and cardiovascular hospitals will include approximately 18 state-of-the-art operating rooms and intensive care units, along with complementary outpatient facilities.
The UF Health Shands Hospital board of directors will evaluate a formal proposal next spring and UF Health officials hope to begin construction next summer, with a goal of opening the new tower in 2018. The facility will cost an estimated $400 million, and be paid for with a combination of cash reserves, bond issues and philanthropic donations. The building phase of the facility will likely create 800 construction jobs and then 700 full-time positions once it opens.
In addition, renovations and additions to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital will also take place, including expansions of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, the pediatric intensive care unit and the neonatal intensive care unit. When these renovations are complete, UF Health expects to have a world-class, 200-bed children’s hospital.
Planned expansions include renovations on the 10th floor to house the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, upgrades to the pediatric intensive care unit to free fourth-floor space formerly used for pediatric cardiology, and expansion of the neonatal intensive care unit.
Enhancements to the children’s hospital will also include a new glass-front pavilion entrance, a welcome area designed especially for pediatric patients and their families, and dedicated elevators to children’s hospital services. Preparations are underway and exterior enhancements are set to be completed in early spring 2014.
The expansions, Guzick said, are all a part of the “Forward Together” UF Health strategic plan announced in 2010, which has as its goal the national recognition of UF Health as a successful academic health center. Since the planned was released, UF Health has renovated or constructed nine new facilities, including UF Health Shands Pediatric E.R., UF Health Springhill and the UF Clinical and Translational Research Building.
“We’re about economic development right here,” Guzick said, adding that UF Health’s financial margins stay here in the community.
The main campus, he said, is a strong base from which UF Health serves the primary care needs for the community, state and Southeast. From there, he said, UF Health has expanded its primary care and outpatient services to population centers, thereby taking medicine to where people live. Future expansions will probably follow this model.