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Lakewood Ranch Medical Center breaks ground on $120M expansion

The new five-story tower will be the largest and most significant expansion in the hospital's 20-year history.


CFO Renee Shopoff, COO Philip Reber, Universal Health Services Acute Care President Edward Sim, CEO Andy Guz, Group VP Florida Region Ryan Chandler and Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young celebrate the groundbreaking of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center's new tower.
CFO Renee Shopoff, COO Philip Reber, Universal Health Services Acute Care President Edward Sim, CEO Andy Guz, Group VP Florida Region Ryan Chandler and Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young celebrate the groundbreaking of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center's new tower.
Photo by Liz Ramos
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Robert Hillstrom stood at a podium outside Lakewood Ranch Medical Center 20 years ago to celebrate the opening of the hospital.

Hillstrom, who started with the hospital as the first chief of the medical staff, said getting a hospital started was no easy feat, as he had to hire nurses and support staff and recruit physicians.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center started with 160 credentialed physicians and allied health professionals.

Now the chairman of the board of governors for the hospital, Hillstrom returned to a podium at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center June 11 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the hospital's $120 million expansion. 

The hospital now has more than 750 medical providers. 

"(The hospital) always had a really good culture, and that culture has only gotten better," Hillstrom said. "We all work together to make it happen."

The new Lakewood Ranch Medical Center tower is expected to be completed in December 2025. The five-story tower will add 60 beds to the hospital's capacity.
Courtesy image

The new five-story, 170,000-square-foot, multiphase addition is expected to open in December 2025.

Andy Guz, the chief executive officer of the hospital, said the tower is the largest and most significant expansion in the hospital's history. 

"This is going to be something that puts us on the map," Guz said. "This has been a long time coming. In order for us to keep up with the demand of the community, this is the project that needs to happen."

The new tower will go in the green space between the entrance to the Women's Center and the main entrance of the hospital. It will be the tallest building on the campus as the other buildings on campus are three stories. 

The hospital's capacity will increase to 180 beds as the expansion will add 60 beds. Guz said the additional capacity will limit wait times in the emergency room and provide hospital beds for patients who need to stay overnight in the emergency room. 

Guz said one of the best aspects of the design of the universal rooms is their flexibility. He said they are designed so they can be an intensive care unit room, a telemetry room or whatever the hospital and patient needs. 

The tower also will expand departments, first of which are the intensive care unit and the progressive care unit. Other departments that will be expanded include the pharmacy, laboratory, education, pre-admission testing and food and nutrition services.

The new tower will include 30 beds for intensive care patients.
Courtesy image

The tower will be built to include two shell floors that will have space for an additional 60 beds. The hospital will be able to add two more floors to the tower, bringing the tower to seven floors. When both phases of the tower are completed, it will double the hospital’s patient bed capacity to 240. 

Guz said the hospital will add approximately 100 new jobs to the hospital.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center staff and community members attended the groundbreaking. 

Lakewood Ranch’s Barbara Milian was among the crowd celebrating with “overwhelming joy” for the hospital in which she was the first mother to give birth when it opened. 

Milian said when she came into the hospital 20 years ago, she was nervous. She had a scheduled C-section. She said she was immediately greeted by hospital staff, and there were multiple nurses and staff members helping her to relax nerves. 

Lakewood Ranch's Barbara Milian returns to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center where she was the first mother to give birth at the hospital when it opened 20 years ago. She says she's overwhelmed with joy to see the hospital expand.
Photo by Liz Ramos

“They just made me feel so comfortable,” Milian said.

At 9:22 a.m. Sept. 1, 2004, Milian welcomed her son Julian Milian, who still lives in Lakewood Ranch. 

“I love Lakewood Ranch and this hospital,” she said. “I’ve been here many times, and the staff is amazing. The emergency room is flawless.”

With Lakewood Ranch growing by leaps and bounds, Guz, Milian, Hillstrom and Edward Sim, the Universal Health Services president of acute care division, all said the hospital’s expansion is necessary. 

“We take care of our community members and take care of each other,” Sim said to the groundbreaking attendees. “There is no stopping us and how we can treat our community members.”

 

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Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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