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Baptist Hospital: New Campus, Same Community

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

by Natalie Franklin

Mark Faulkner, President and CEO, BHC

About seven months ago, Baptist Hospital announced that it will be building a new campus at the intersection of Interstate 110 and Brent Lane. The project is currently in its design phase with the architect, program manager and general contractor already selected. According to Mark Faulkner, president and CEO of Baptist Health Care, the 650,000-square-foot replacement hospital and medical office building project is “right on track.”

“We’re in the phase where much of the work is less tangible, less visible, but no less important,” Faulkner said.

Baptist Health Care is looking at a summer 2023 occupancy for the new campus, which will feature a full-scale, 250- bed hospital with medical offices. Total costs are expected to be around $550 million.

“This is going to be a significant financial investment,” Faulkner said. The new project will have a major effect on the community at large, financial as well as social. “We have made it clear early and often that all things being equal, our preference is that we use local talent, local trades, local skills, contractors and vendors to do the work.”

For the next three years, during which the new campus will be constructed, there will be local job opportunities. Faulkner also foresees the new campus as an opportunity for the hospital to grow, hopefully leading to more employment opportunities at the hospital in the future.

“We don’t see a significant uptick in immediate employment opportunities, but we do see more of a long term trajectory of growth that will positively impact employment in our community,” Faulkner said.

BHC Hospital Rendering

With the construction of the new campus, there are also new growth opportunities for the community that have not yet been seen before. The community can expect to see new commercial development in the area surrounding the new campus, such as retail, hotels, and mixeduse space.

“That is a third opportunity that is new to Baptist – the opportunity to have our new campus spur the growth of commercial enterprises nearby as well,” Faulkner said.

The existing Baptist Hospital was built almost 70 years ago in 1951. The current infrastructure doesn’t adequately support today’s healthcare. The new campus will provide patients with enhanced healthcare services and increased accessibility.

“Our community and our caregivers can expect accelerated adoption of technology which leads to better outcomes and better care,” Faulkner explained.

However, improved technology is only one piece of the puzzle. The new campus will also be more accessible to the community at large. Currently, the main campus is situated in an area that is difficult for some patients to navigate.

“The new campus will offer increased accessibility to the broader community that is limited today in our current location,” Faulkner said.

The new campus will also feature a more “patient centered” environment. Patients should expect upgrades to areas such as waiting rooms, patient rooms and overall improved wayfinding. Visitors can also expect a simplistic design that makes hospital navigation easier and more user friendly.

BHC Hospital Site Plan

There are many changes coming to the new Baptist Hospital campus, but the community this hospital serves will be happy to know that the new campus is only 2.5 miles from the existing campus. This short distance was a calculated move by hospital administrators.

The new Brent Lane location met all of the top priorities for the hospital including where patients come from currently, where employees live, travel corridors and public transportation routes and options. The new location was definitely chosen with the community in mind.

“The economics would have told us to go further north...where a lot of new construction, new development, new growth is happening. This is not an economic decision. This is a community decision,” Faulkner said.

According to Faulkner, community feedback has been overwhelming positive across the board. Baptist Health Care made efforts to ensure that community concerns were heard, and the organization made tremendous efforts to maintain transparent.

“We’ve been just overwhelmed with how positive and how curious the community has been,” Faulkner said. “There is just and ongoing dialogue, an ongoing curiosity and interest in this project, all born out of positivity and excitement for our future.”

The conversation has been focused on the new campus as well as the old campus. Hospital services will of course be moved to the new campus, however there are conversations still being had about the future of the existing campus.

“We’re interested in learning what type of healthcare services are still needed at our current location or what kind of social services are still needed at our current location,” Faulkner explained.

The new campus comes on the heels of several revitalization efforts already taking place in the community.

“I think this is another important component, another piece of the puzzle to move us forward,” Faulkner said.

Baptist Health Care strives to better its community. Every decision, every choice is made with the community in mind.

“There’s a whole lot of someones that walk around this organization with that mindset, including our Board,” Faulkner said.

“We’re here to evolve, to shape and to be a part of and a supporter of the improved quality of life in our community.”

This story is from:

Out Front Magazine- March 2020

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