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Work Begins on New Regional Hospital Medical Campus

Surgeon General of Florida and dignitaries attend dedication ceremony of facility being built to serve the western Palm Beach County communities

that border Lake Okeechobee

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Health Care District of Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners, Glades General Hospital Board of Directors and Glades Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors recently dedicated the 50 acres of land on which a new regional hospital campus is being built to serve all the Western Palm Beach County communities. The hospital will be the first in the county to feature all private patient rooms and a design that is sensitive to the patient experience and patient privacy.

Florida Surgeon General Ana M. Viamonte Ros M.D., MPH, State Rep. Richard A. Machek, Pahokee Mayor J.P. Sasser, South Bay Mayor Clarence Anthony and more than 100 members of the community attended the dedication ceremony at the crossroads of the Lake Okeechobee region on the centrally located site on the southwest corner of U.S. 441 and Hooker Highway. Father John Mericantante of St. Mary's Catholic Church delivered the invocation.

"Today we see heavy machinery moving thousands of yards of dirt on this site. In just a few short years, we will have the modern medical hub that we need to deliver quality healthcare to this region," said Dr. Stanley Pierce, Chair of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners. "The District received letters from more than 200 residents supporting this project and it is wonderful to see the vast array of people here today to dedicate the land."

The Health Care District has committed $50 million toward the $73 million technologically advanced hospital, making it the largest capital project the District has undertaken in its 18-year history. The Glades Healthcare Foundation has implemented a capital campaign to raise the balance needed to complete the hospital project. The District is also pursuing capital dollars that are potentially available from government entities.

"We're not only constructing a hospital, we're building the foundation for our children's and grandchildren's future," said Glades Healthcare Foundation Board Chair and Health Care District Commissioner C. David Goodlett, who also serves as Vice President of Government and Community Relations for the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. "This project will be an economic stimulus to the area and will help attract and keep new professionals and physicians in the region. We look forward to seeing our community help the Glades Healthcare Foundation meet its fundraising goals."

Since 2004, the Health Care District has made multi-million dollar investments in Glades General Hospital. Staff and technological resources will be transitioned to the new hospital when it opens in early 2010. The new regional hospital, which has not been formally named, will occupy approximately 142,000 square feet and offer 70 private in-patient rooms with capacity to expand. The property is zoned for an additional 115,000 square feet for future facilities supporting the medical needs of the community.

Glades General Hospital Board of Directors Chair Bryan Cross noted, "Glades General is Palm Beach County's only public hospital and the only acute care hospital within a 35-mile radius. This modern, more centrally located facility will enhance our accessibility and service to the region."

Led by its new Chief Executive Officer, David M. Zechman, Glades General provides a 24-hour physician staffed emergency room and community-based in- patient and out-patient services. Once built, the new hospital will feature larger operating rooms, a greater complement of Emergency Room treatment areas and more pediatric rooms. The facility will also include six private ICU rooms and two additional delivery and post-partum rooms.

Community education rooms will be available in the new hospital for organizations and educational gatherings as well as health and lifestyle classes. The building design features separate Emergency Room and main entrance drop-offs as well as separate patient and public elevators, which, combined with single-patient rooms and more consultation offices, will enhance patient privacy.

"Patient privacy and comfort are priorities in the new hospital design," Zechman said. "It's going to be a great environment in which to work, receive medical care and learn about ways to stay healthy through educational programs for our community."

The regional medical campus will include a large trauma helipad to enable the efficient transfer of a patient to a local trauma center or another specialized center. The helipad also will be utilized for evacuating injured patients during an emergency or natural disaster in the region.

"The new hospital campus will establish a new healthcare destination for the Glades region," said Dwight D. Chenette, the Health Care District's Chief Executive Officer. "This project is just one example of the Health Care District's commitment to providing access to quality healthcare for Palm Beach County residents."

In February 2006, the Health Care District Board approved a plan to construct the new hospital. In June of that year, former Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet approved the state-owned land to be used for medical purposes and authorized the lease of the land to the Health Care District. Michael J. Gates, the Senior Development Executive for the Health Care District, leads the project delivery team consisting of:

-- Gresham Smith and Partners (Planning, Architecture and Interior Design)

-- Skanska U.S.A. Building, Inc. (Preconstruction Services, Construction


-- TLC Engineering (IT and M.E.P. Engineering)

-- Miller Legg Engineering (Civil Engineering and Landscaping)

-- Mitchell Associates (Equipment Planning)

-- Kilday Associates (Master Site Planning)

The new regional hospital is scheduled to open in early 2010.

About the Health Care District:

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County provides health coverage for low-income residents, lifesaving care and rehabilitation for trauma patients, a nurse in every public school, behavioral health professionals in 46 public elementary schools, long-term skilled nursing care, and acute care hospital services at Glades General Hospital, the county's only public hospital. The Health Care District is in the process of constructing a new, technologically advanced regional hospital to serve the Lake Okeechobee region.

SOURCE Health Care District of Palm Beach County
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