$75 million hospital expansion expected to open in 2020

Motorists driving near St. Joseph’s Hospital-North may wonder why there’s a massive crane towering over the medical center.

The answer’s simple: The hospital is undergoing a $75 million expansion that will double its capacity and will support additional services.

An aerial view of the $75 million construction expansion underway at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North. This photograph was captured by a drone. (Courtesy of St. Joseph’s Hospital-North)

Construction crews already have built four additional operating suites in shelled spaces that were included during the original construction, and the work continues on a two-floor expansion.

“We recently celebrated our topping out, which is tradition in the construction world when that final beam of steel goes up,” said Sara Dodds, operations director at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North.

Each of the new floors in the hospital will have 54 patient rooms, Dodds said.

The expansion is expected to be finished and ready for use in early 2020, roughly a decade after the hospital opened , at 4211 Van Dyke Road in Lutz.

Enlarging the facility was always part of the long-term plan, but area growth prompted the work to be done sooner than originally expected, Dodds said.

And, population growth continues within the hospital’s primary service area, which is within a 5-mile radius.

Between 2018 and 2023, the expected growth within that area is about 7.5 percent, which is more than double the 3.5 expected growth rate of the United States during that period.

Sara Dodds, the operations director at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, is overseeing an expansion that aims to address needs in an area that’s growing at twice the pace of the rest of the United States. (B.C. Manion)

Plus, more than 25 percent of that growth is expected to be people who are 65 and older, and 11.4 percent is ages 55 to 64, age groups which tend to have a greater need for health care services, Dodds said.

The expansion aims to respond to those growing needs.

“We’re doubling our inpatient bed capacity. So, currently we have 108 beds, and we’ll be going to 216 beds,” she said.

Other elements of the expansion include adding to the hospital’s intensive care unit, its progressive care units, and its area for physical and respiratory therapy.

The hospital also will have a dedicated hemodialysis unit, enabling it to expand its outpatient infusions.

When the expansion is completed and the patient rooms are full, the hospital expects to add around 200 positions, including clinical staff and support services.

Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, the competition of the project will roughly coincide with the hospital’s 10-year anniversary.

At the time of its opening, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North was the first new hospital that had been built in Hillsborough County for 30 years. Before that, area residents had to drive for miles to get to the nearest hospital.

In another change, the hospital installed metal detectors in November.

“I often get the question: Did something happen? The answer is no. It’s just our organization’s commitment to add another layer of safety for our patients, our team, our physicians, our visitors,” Dodds said.

St. Joseph’s Hospital-North
By the numbers – 2018
Discharges: 8081 (Inpatient only); 16,498 (discharges with observation patients)
Births: 429
Total Surgeries: 3,953
Total Endoscopies: 3,345
Total Cardiac Catheterizations: 790
Emergency Department Visits: 41,316
Team Members: 809

Published February 06, 2019

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