Baptist Health plans to open a new 300,000 square-foot hospital with 102 beds in Fleming Island at the end of this year, according to the hospital’s president Darin Roark.
Clay County’s growing population created a demand for the new hospital, said Roark. Delayed by the onset of COVID, the hospital is now set to open in November or December.
“We had to put things on hold while we waited out the first wave of COVID,” said Roark.
Although it caused delays, the pandemic also influenced the features Baptist Clay would have.
“We’ve learned a lot about taking care of patients during a pandemic, and we were able to make a lot of those changes that we were making at our sister hospitals [to the new hospital],” Roark explained. “This facility will open with those enhancements such as additional oxygen generating capacity, touch-free fixtures throughout the building, as well as enhanced airflow to the fourth floor.”
The hospital will be six stories, with the fourth floor being the critical care unit. The hospital is also set to have 20 labor and delivery beds, with rooms that allow new parents to spend the nights with their baby.
“We’ve really built a very flexible hospital that will be able to care for all kinds of different patient populations,” said Roark.
Currently, hospital administrators are working to hire about 400 new staff members. Roark acknowledged the shortage of medical professionals in the region but is hopeful they will be able to recruit enough health care personnel. So far, about 40 staff members have already been hired.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to fill our jobs with a host of people that we know live in Fleming Island or in Clay County and want to work close to home,” said Roark.
The hospital must undergo more construction, inspections and testing before it’s ready for its first patients.
The new hospital has a budget of $235 million, and Roark said it has been affected by supply chain issues and inflation. Still, administrators were able to preorder and store equipment for the hospital before the prices rose too much.
“We’ve been storing a lot of items because we knew that the price increases and shortages of certain products were definitely on the horizon,” Roark explained.
Roark said he is looking forward to introducing the new hospital to Clay County.
“Hopefully, the entire campus will be ready to go by the end of the year, and we can give Clay County a great Thanksgiving or Christmas present,” Roark said.