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City Council smiles on plans for hospital expansion
Morton Plant North Bay proposes a new intensive-care unit and 34 additional beds.
By JODIE TILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 20, 2007
NEW PORT RICHEY - The City Council Tuesday gave unanimous initial approval to land use changes that could transform the Morton Plant North Bay Hospital campus, with two multistory buildings to house a new intensive-care unit, a sleep center and doctors' offices.
North Bay, which would add the developments in five phases, also proposes building nearly 600 parking spaces and closing part of Ohio Avenue between Madison Street and Forest Avenue.
Spokeswoman Beth Hardy said North Bay would like to start construction on the $39-million project in October, but she was not certain when the final phase would be completed.
The hospital, which now has 120 beds, proposes building to the north of its existing structure a three-story patient tower that would add 34 beds.
The first floor would be attached to the existing emergency room, and the top two floors would include private rooms with heart monitors and an intensive-care unit. During this phase, the hospital would also construct a large retention area on the block bounded by Kentucky, Forest and Ohio avenues and Oak Hill Drive.
The second phase would include the new four-story medical office building. Phase 3 would involve an outpatient surgery center to be located between the medical offices and the new patient tower.
Later would come a walk-in clinic and a new storage building at the southeast corner of Ohio and Forest avenues.
Because its campus is in a residential area, the 120-bed hospital has been making visible steps toward expansion for the past few years, scooping up a handful of nearby homes it has demolished.
North Bay's plans got the approval of the city's Development Review Committee earlier this year and were considered for the first time by the City Council on Tuesday night.