Huge Health Campus Breaks Ground in Florida Panhandle

By Eric Althoff

PENSACOLA, Fla.—With the coronavirus canceling most groundbreaking events for new healthcare construction, many such ceremonies have gone virtual, including one for a health campus now underway in Florida’s Panhandle.

In early November, construction officially started for Baptist Health Care’s new health campus, which is valued at $615 million and will be situated on a parcel of land encompassing 57 acres.  The new healthcare center will entail a 602,000-square-feet hospital that will have 264 beds spread out over 10 floors.  The beds will be spread out for various levels of care, including ICU, labor and delivery, and medical/surgery.  Specialized areas will be devoted to Level II trauma care, triage, specialty cardiac care as well as a dedicated surgery and operations department.

Another part of the campus will be home to the Multispecialty Health Center, a six-floor, 178,000-square-foot complex that will offer 162 examination rooms as well as spaces for oncology, women’s health, bariatrics, surgery pre-optimization, cardiology and wound care.

In addition to the healthcare facilities, the campus will also offer dedicated walking paths, a chapel and “healing garden,” cafeteria and coffee shop, room for outdoor classes and rehabilitation areas.  Future space is likely to be set up for a dine-in restaurant.

The health campus project was announced in the summer of 2019, and has continued during the pandemic with such job requirements as securing financing, and initial site preparation and design planning.

Design and construction firms have also been tapped by BHC for the project.  These include architectural firm Gresham Smith, program manager Meadows & Ohly and equipment and technology planner Smith Seckman and Reid.

Brasfield & Gorrie, whose home office is located in Birmingham, Ala., has been tapped to work as the new health campus’s general contractor.  In a statement emailed to HCO News, Brasfield & Gorrie Vice President and Division Manager Susan Stabler said that healthcare is essential to any community, and her firm believes in making such ties between people and healthcare stronger.

“We are honored to partner with Baptist Health Care in their mission to provide the people of Northwest Florida and South Alabama with world-class care,” Stabler said.

Due to the safety concerns surrounding holding a live groundbreaking ceremony, instead the event was broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube on Nov. 3, 71 years to the day that Baptist Hospital, the crown jewel in BNC’s portfolio, first opened.

“This new health campus will serve our region now and for generations to come,” BHC president and CEO Mark Faulkner said in a statement during the groundbreaking.  “Our founders’ bold vision led to generations of quality care for our community.

“This transformational project will allow us to continue providing patient-centered care in a setting that offers the opportunity to evolve and adapt as the needs of our community change for generations to come.”

The campus itself is expected to be completed sometime in 2023.