Baptist Health is planning to break ground on a big expansion project in May, to both provide easier access to Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and meet the growing need for neo-natal and pediatric intensive care through Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Details of the project are now being released, with construction lasting through 2021.
“It will meet the need with a state-of-the-art critical care unit for the future and many years beyond,” Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville Michael Mayo says.
The expansion includes construction of a new seven-story building at the old parking garage location. Two floors will serve as the new front entrance for both Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Mayo says moving the entrance from Prudential to Palm Avenue will not only increase their visibility from the highway, but will improve patient access. The new entrance will be four lanes and include valet parking, and there will be a new elevated walkway over Palm Avenue connecting this new building to the parking garage as well.
Critically ill children will soon have new resources. This is a preview to the new Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower. What the $184 million dollar project will bring to the area impact ahead at 5 on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/8UnRdFWwLn— Elizabeth Pace (@PaceAnJax) February 12, 2019
The remaining five floors of the new building will be the Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower, featuring a 75-bed neo-natal intensive care unit and 26-bed pediatric intensive care unit. Mayo says the NICU normally runs close to full occupancy.
“We knew that we needed the additional beds to meet that growing demand,” Mayo says.
With this expansion, the capacity is up 25% for NICU beds and 30% for PICU beds. That increase will make Wolfson Children’s Hospital the second-largest children’s hospital in Florida, according to Baptist Health.
The NICU beds themselves will be in the form of suites.
“We wanted to create a better patient-family experience with creating NICU suites, so that families could stay together, sleep two parents, full shower and bathrooms in the rooms, a lot of new state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and really designs the rooms to encourage that family involvement with the patients and staff,” Mayo says.
The suites will all have windows for natural light, and there will be education systems through which parents can learn more about what their child is facing, as well as entertainment options to provide them some distractions through the process.
Mayo says they have the funding, land, and approvals in place to move forward with this project. They are finalizing a few design elements right now, but plan to break ground in May. While construction is slated through 2021, he says the focus is on a lot that is separate from the existing hospital structures, so that should help minimize the impact on you in that area.
In the hospital space that’s currently occupied by NICU and PICU services, Mayo says they will expand other services they offer. That could include as part of the ongoing renovation of pre- and post-partum, labor, and delivery services.
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