Published on May 28, 2014

St. Vincent's will break ground on Clay County expansion this summer


 Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

The parent company of St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Clay County has agreed to provide initial seed capital required for the facility to expand.

“It does allow us to start the project,” David Meyer, chief strategy and marketing officer for St. Vincent’s HealthCare, told the Business Journal on Wednesday.

Meyer said once design plans are finalized, the hospital could break ground as soon as this summer on the $24 million expansion, which will increase its in-patient bed count from 64 up to 100, expand its emergency room and build a three-story patient tower housing a new maternity ward. The project would also bring an estimated 180 employees to the Middleburg campus by the time the work is completed, perhaps by fall 2015.

Ascension Health, the non-profit that operates St. Vincent’s, recently tentatively signed off on the project, part of the two-step process required by the company for major capital improvements. St. Vincent’s has to go back to Ascension for final approval, including more concrete budget figures, before construction will begin. Ascension would cover a portion of the expansion costs, with the Clay County hospital kicking in the rest.

Jacksonville-based St. Vincent’s HealthCare’s network encompasses three full-service hospitals (including the one in Clay County) as well as a skilled nursing facility, primary care and specialty care centers.

Meyer said the hospital in Clay County,which opened in September 2013, was designed with expansion in mind.

According to Blain Claypool, president of St. Vincent’s Clay County, on some days all 64 beds of the facility are filled and that the regional hospital serves a population of suburban Jacksonville that had previously been underserved.

Administrators hope to add yet another phase of expansion — another 32 to 36 beds, two more patient floors and another six operating rooms to the half dozen it already has — sometime in the near future.