The paint, a shade of tan called nomadic desert, still smells wet. Ductwork hangs from above, and guests have to wear hard hats and ride a noisy freight elevator. But come November, the nearly 500,000 square foot construction project taking up 55 acres at State Road 54 and Little Road will look like a state of the art hospital as officials cut the ribbon on the Medical Center of Trinity.
"It's a mall concept," said CEO Leigh Massengill, showing off the long straight ground floor. The first level features a patient entrance at one end and offices at the other. In between are a coffee bar that will offer Starbucks brews, a conference room that can accommodate 150 people, a dining hall that will also include a Subway, and WiFi throughout the building.
At the main entrance, an information desk is surrounded by 10-foot-tall picture windows.
The hospital will have two sets of elevators, one for the public and the other for patients as officials strive to achieve an environment that is inviting in some places and confined in others.
"We want to make it accessible, but we're trying very hard to keep it private," Massengill said. "Our goal is to create a place of health and wellness as well as a place to go when you're sick."
Upper floors include eight birthing suites, with an operating room for emergency caesarian sections. Rooms and halls feature simulated wood-grain floors and recessed lighting that can be lowered when it's time to push.
The wing also is equipped with a security system that alerts nurses if a newborn is taken near an exit door. Babies wear bracelets that set off the alarms.
The hospital also reflects the transition to high-tech record-keeping.
The intensive care rooms feature bedside computers so nurses can enter vitals straight into the system. Keyboards swivel so nurses don't have to take their eyes off patients to enter the information.
"The hope is for a system that's entirely paperless," Massengill said.
All patient rooms are private, as now required by federal law. That cuts down on infection and allows patients to keep family members close.
"Patients in the hospital are sicker now than they used to be," said Massengill, who began her career as a nurse and who remembers multibed wards that housed patients who today would have other options.
It's been a long journey for the hospital that is changing its name and moving most of its operations from downtown New Port Richey to the more well-heeled and strategically located suburb of Trinity.
Hospital officials sought to move Community Hospital in 2002 and had to fend off a competing bid from nonprofit rival Morton Plant North Bay Hospital. State officials gave the nod to Community. But plans to move angered New Port Richey City Council members who bemoaned the loss of the city's largest employer and taxpayer. Records show the city collected about $119,000 from the hospital last year. Later, plans to keep part of the building for an emergency room and psychiatric ward drew further criticism from city leaders. The state ultimately gave Community its approval to maintain those services in New Port Richey.
"We're not terribly thrilled about it," said Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe. "But we're going to do the best we can."
He said staffers are getting ready to recommend some possible uses for the property. One that Marlowe favors is professional offices.
"Our restaurants are going to be hurting with the loss of the hospital lunch crowd," he said. "I think the best thing to do would be to bulldoze it down and start clean."