SUN CITY CENTER — South Bay Hospital officials expect to increase staff, welcome more patients and increase parking with its $30 million expansion and renovation project, set to be completed next month.
The project includes a 30,900 square-foot new Patient Tower as well as the renovation and refurbishing of patient care units and public areas. Longtime South Bay CEO Sharon L. Roush said she expects the new tower and other improvement areas to open to patients and the public on or around Dec. 5 when inspections by parent company Hospital Corporation of America and state inspections are completed.
Roush said the hospital expects to increase staff about 10 percent from the current total of 475 full and part-time employees. There are 200 independent physicians on the staff.
The new Patient Tower will feature all private rooms and include a 14-bed Progressive Care service and 12 additional intensive care beds. It will increase the hospital's bed total to 138 and has been designed to accommodate future expansion of two floors for an additional 48 beds.
Roush, who came to South Bay as CEO in 2009, said she started planning the expansion in the hospital's master plan in her earliest years. In late 2008, HCA announced it would relocate South Bay to Big Bend Road, but the Sun City Center community fought that decision all the way up to Tallahassee and in 2011 HCA decided to keep the hospital in Sun City Center.
Ed Barnes, who chaired the citizen's committee to keep the hospital in town, said, "this major expansion substantiates the value of South Bay to the local community."
Roush pointed out that parking at the hospital has always been a problem, but HCA purchased and tore down a neighboring medical arts building and parking will go from 80 spaces to 210 immediately. In addition, in the area under the new wing, there will be covered parking spaces for the golf carts that many people in the community use for travel.
In addition to the newly constructed tower, construction includes a new hospital entrance, enhanced main lobby and gift shop, a Café at the Bay dining expansion and a chapel. Additional patient care units will be renovated in 2017 to reflect the new tower design elements, Roush said.
Daniel Bender, Chief Operating Officer of South Bay, who directly supervised the new construction, said the new building is rated to withstand a wind load of 150 mph.
"The concrete piling structures went down about 65-70 feet into the ground with approximately five feet of that drilled directly down into lime rock/bedrock," he added.
David Floyd, president of the Sun City Center Community Association and a member of South Bay's patient advisory committee, complimented the hospital's improvements.
"(It) has a tremendous patient follow-up system," Floyd said. "The staff has not only improved the care but the compassion for those using South Bay and the expansion and new facilities will absolutely improve the ability to care. And that's what hospitals are all about."
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