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TGH 5-story expansion is largest in decades

The 280,000-square-foot addition will more than double the size of the existing emergency room and will cost between $100-$120-million.

Published October 3, 2003

Tampa General Hospital is forging ahead with the biggest expansion since it built the West Pavilion in 1984.

The five-story addition will be built on stilts of sorts - a first for the hospital.

The 280,000-square-foot addition will rise near the cafeteria and loading dock and cost about $100-million to $120-million, said Joey Resnick, vice president of support services.

To comply with federal flood regulations enacted after Hurricane Andrew, the addition must be built 18 to 20 feet off the ground.

A decontamination area will occupy one corner of the ground floor to handle any catastrophic biological attack, said hospital spokesman John Dunn. It will also be used for parking and more routine emergencies, such as chlorine spills.

The second level will have a new and expanded trauma center. The center will more than double the existing 28,000-square-foot emergency room.

The new center will feature more diagnostic capability, said Deana Nelson, senior vice president of patient services. For example, an emergency room patient currently must go to radiology on the third floor for a Computed Tomography Imaging, commonly known as a CAT scan. The expanded center will have its own CAT scan equipment.

The third level will consolidate all of the hospital's vascular equipment for doing angiograms and treating stroke victims. It will have 12 vascular labs and 48 patient stations, with the capability to expand in the future, Dunn said.

The hospital will enlarge its labor and delivery areas and C-section suites on the fourth level. TGH delivers about 4,200 babies a year and needs more space, Nelson said.

The expansion won't increase the hospital's capacity but it will redistribute the beds. Eighteen intensive care unit beds will be moved to the fifth level. The hospital is licensed for 877 beds and will stay just below that, Dunn said.

To pay for the addition, the hospital secured bond financing this summer and will kick off a fundraising campaign later this year. Groundbreaking is planned for late next summer. Details of the project were revealed at a recent Tampa General Hospital Foundation event.

The expansion is needed to accommodate growth in the area and across Florida's West Coast, Nelson said.

Getting the project off the ground, however, had complications.

Davis Islands residents who live nearby opposed adding traffic and speeding on Davis Boulevard. They also wanted more streetlighting, large buffers around the new construction and bicycle paths along the waterfront.

They got some of that.

TGH has agreed to provide up to $25,000 to either expand a median or put in a crosswalk on East Davis Boulevard. Improved street signs will show motorists how to get in and out of the hospital without cutting through neighborhoods.

The hospital also plans to build a speed table on Arbor Place near East Davis Boulevard and Columbia Drive and improve pedestrian access to a 10-foot-wide stretch of land between the campus and Seddon Channel.

"We are working with the city," Dunn said.

- Babita Persaud can be reached at 226-3322 or

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