ST. PETERSBURG — St. Anthony’s Hospital opened in 1931, long before private rooms fitted with oxygen feeds and equipment to monitor vitals signs became necessities in every patient room.
The hospital, which is part of the BayCare Health System, has expanded and modernized over the decades, but patients still share “semi-private” rooms in some wards, said hospital president Scott Smith. The hospital has also struggled to meet the growing demand for hospital care in St. Petersburg, some of which comes from the construction boom of new apartment and condo towers.
That’s why BayCare is investing $250 million in a master plan to expand and redevelop the 30-acre hospital campus in Historic Uptown. That project passed a major milestone this month when St. Anthony’s Hospital opened a $152 million patient tower that adds 90 private rooms to its capacity.
“Over the past four to five years, we’ve been in a situation where we have more demand and patients than we have beds for,” Smith said. “The patient tower will enable us to meet the growing health care needs of the community we serve for many years to come.”
The tower has three patient floors with a nurses station in the center and rooms along the perimeter, designed so nurses walk less throughout their shifts. There are also rest stops for patients who are walking for exercise or recovery.
Other floors include in-patient dialysis and oncology units and three surgery suites. The hospital’s cafeteria and kitchen will be moved to the first floor for better access to visitors.
The new facility will increase the hospital’s capacity to 448 beds.
St. Anthony’s still has semi-private rooms, but they will mostly be used for short-term patients, such as those under observation after an ER visit. Those staying longer are more likely to have private rooms, Smith said.
Construction on the tower began just before COVID-19 arrived in the United States in early 2020. Smith said that the pandemic did not force changes to the design that already included “negative pressure” rooms specifically for patients with airborne infectious diseases.
The first phase of the master plan was completed in 2019 with the expansion of the hospital’s operating rooms and endoscopy department. BayCare plans to expand the emergency and imaging departments with the remaining $60 million its investing in the hospital. The number of patients who visit the emergency room has risen significantly in recent years, Smith said, and the ER now sees about 70,000 patients a year.
Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines
Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options