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An Update on Lee Health Fort Myers Hospital

Dr. Larry Antonucci's Blog Posts

Posted:

Dec. 21, 2022

Significant work is underway on the pillars of the project

Late last year, Lee Health announced our plans to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital and medical destination on Challenger Boulevard, between Colonial Boulevard and Winkler Avenue, in the City of Fort Myers. Since we received approval to proceed from the Lee Health Board of Directors, significant work has been underway.

“When sharing a high-level overview of the Lee Health Fort Myers Hospital project, there are four pillars to the project, including permitting, design, construction and building activation,” explains Dave Kistel, Lee Health’s vice president and chief facilitates executive. “We are working on multiple pillars simultaneously to keep the project moving forward.”

Permitting

  • This is an ongoing process.
  • We have submitted our application for the planned unit development (PUD) with the City of Fort Myers, which Dave says is a one to one-and-a-half-year process.
  • We also are working on the permitting process with the Florida Department of Transportation on access roads, the South Florida Water Management District on water use permitting, the Federal Aviation Administration on helipad permitting, the Lee County Port Authority on tall structure permitting and the Federal Department of Environmental Protection on environmental permitting.
  • Dave says we hope to have the permitting process complete and all permits approved by the second quarter of 2024.

Design

  • We are currently in the first phase of design.
  • This pillar involves master planning the 52-acre site, engaging in visioning and listening sessions with community and employee stakeholders and completing a written schematic design program of phase one of the project.
  • We are providing an overview of the plans and the project with those in the surrounding area, including homeowners associations and the principals of the nearby school. Along with helping them understand our plans, they can ask questions and voice any concerns or issues. “We are happy to report that this has gone very well so far, and there is a lot of excitement about the hospital,” Dave says.
  • “During this phase of the project, we are meeting with all impacted departments at Lee Memorial Hospital so they can begin participating in space definition and planning for the ultimate layout of their space, which has them really excited and engaged,” Dave says.
  • There are three major building components in the project: The central energy plant (think generators, chillers and other infrastructure), the medical office building and the hospital itself.
  • Dave expects we will wrap up this first phase of schematic design in early January.
  • The next phase will be design development, which will include more meetings with the departments so they can review additional details and define the specific layout of the space. Design development determines where everything will be situated according to codes and operations of the department.
  • Design development builds on and allows the stakeholders to start detailing the space even further with cabinets, plumbing, electrical, furniture – all the elements that support the function of the space.
  • The construction document phase will be underway through June 2023 and then, around the second quarter of 2024, all of the plans and construction documents and drawings will be compiled and submitted to local and state regulators as part of the application process for building permits.

Construction

  • Dave expects construction to start in June 2024 and estimates the facility will be completed in March 2027.

Building Activation

  • This pillar of the project is focused on preparing for operational occupancy, training and acclimating staff to their new space, preparing to move patients from Lee Memorial Hospital to the new hospital and opening for new patients and visitors.

“The 168-bed, all-private room Lee Health Fort Myers Hospital will be the first phase of a larger master plan, it will represent a facility focused on our patients with technology to enhance the delivery of care in our community,” Dave says. “This is a longer-term project we will be working on for the next few years, but as we continue moving through the phases and pillars of the project, the excitement is building with all of our stakeholders and everyone involved.”

We understand that discussions of the new hospital raise the question of what will happen to Lee Memorial Hospital. While we have not yet made any decisions about how we will use the current campus after the new hospital opens, we will continue to explore our options while the new hospital is under construction and determine the best use of the Cleveland Avenue property.

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