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County approves Bayonet Point hospital expansion

Construction of the project at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is expected to take two years.

The Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point plans to break ground within weeks on its $38-million expansion following Thursday's approval by Pasco County's Development Review Committee.

The 77,000-square-foot expansion, destined for the southeast corner of Fivay Road and Hudson Avenue, will add 34 beds to the 256-bed for-profit hospital. Plans also call for additional operating rooms, a pavilion and parking spaces.

"This is one of the largest projects in Pasco County this year. We're talking $30-million-plus," said Kurt Conover, the hospital's director of business development.

The approval process up to now hasn't been without controversy.

Bayonet Point, owned by Columbia HCA/Healthcare Corp., failed in its first attempt last year to get its expansion plans approved by the state's Agency for Health Care Administration.

The hospital appealed the agency's ruling successfully.

But then North Bay Hospital, one of Bayonet's competitors in New Port Richey, filed a petition against the expansion, arguing the market couldn't support 34 more beds.

North Bay dropped its opposition in April.

One of the last hurdles was the county's development committee, which approved the project with little fanfare Thursday in Dade City.

Conover said the hospital should begin construction almost immediately, wrapping up the project within two years.

The extra hospital beds will serve mostly open heart surgery patients, Bayonet officials said.

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