Florida Hospital Apopka to have 120 patient rooms, $203 million price

Article from the Orlando Sentinel

By Stephen Hudak

New Florida Hospital Apopka will add jobs, reduce patient transfers
The new Florida Hospital Apopka will have more rooms than first proposed, and a much higher price tag.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Jennifer Wandersleben, vice president/administrator of Florida Hospital Apopka, said the medical campus will have 120 private rooms, up from 80 that Adventist Health Systems proposed when the not-for-profit healthcare company announced plans last year.

The estimated cost rose, too, by $23 million to $203 million.

“We really are looking forward to the future taking root in this new [site] within the city,” Wandersleben said of the location, which is part of 70 acres that Adventist Health Systems owns at the intersection of Ocoee-Apopka and Harmon roads, a crossroads visible from State Roads 429 and 414.

Florida Hospital has not yet announced its plans for the 50-bed facility it will abandon at North Park Avenue, near downtown Apopka.

Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer described the new hospital, which is slated to open in spring 2017, as “a magnet for economic activities” in a part of the city that is mostly empty fields.

The campus includes a seven-story hospital and four-story medical building. Many patient rooms will have a view of Lake Apopka. It is expected to create 300 new jobs for nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals.

“The new Florida Hospital Apopka also will create a place for healing…that is close to all of our homes,” Kilsheimer said.

Nearly half of all patients admitted to Florida Hospital Apopka are now transferred to other hospitals in the Adventist system because the Apopka campus lacks the sophisticated medical equipment available at other locations. Wandersleben said the features of the new hospital will reduce patient transfers to about 15 percent.

Those additions include a surgery center, a catheterization laboratory and an expanded intensive care unit, but not a maternity wing.

Construction will probably begin in May, said R. Jay Davoll, Apopka’s community development director. He said the city Planning Commission will review the hospital’s detailed site plans April 14 and City Council will be asked to approve those documents at its first meeting in May.

Kilsheimer also said the new hospital “will be the signature architectural element on the south side of our community…”

The hospital opened in Apopka in 1967 under the name North Orange Memorial Hospital and received funds from a special taxing district. It was sold for $1 million in 1975 to Adventist Health Systems Sunbelt Inc., an affiliate of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which gave the medical facility its name.

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