FORECAST: West Orange area to see multitude of new health care options

Local health care providers have seen the increase in West Orange’s population. Now, they’re here to compensate for that growth.

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  • | 3:10 p.m. January 8, 2017
Orlando Health’s upcoming hospital in Horizon West has a potential completion timeline of early 2018.
Orlando Health’s upcoming hospital in Horizon West has a potential completion timeline of early 2018.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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WEST ORANGE  As the nation’s fourth fastest-growing state and the third most-populated in the country, it’s no secret that Florida’s growth won’t be stunted anytime soon.

And much of that growth is occurring in Orange County. Between 2010 and 2015, the county’s population swelled 12.4%. To account for that growth, West Orange’s Horizon West and surrounding communities are hustling to accommodate new residents.

This year, West Orange residents can expect to see their health care options grow with them. In the works are numerous projects from providers such as Orlando Health, Florida Hospital and Validus Senior Living.  

Orlando Health in particular is championing much of the health care expansion in Ocoee, Horizon West and Dr. Phillips, while Florida Hospital is expanding further in Winter Garden, and Validus Senior Living celebrated the opening of its new senior independent-living facility in Ocoee this year.



It’s been quite the year for Ocoee’s Health Central Hospital, a branch of Orlando Health that has seen the completion of a new 40-bed tower in 2016. The new bed tower is part of a larger project to expand the hospital and its emergency wing.

The West Orange Healthcare District has played a major part in the transformation of both Health Central and bringing the upcoming Horizon West hospital to life by funding $75 million of the total $100-million project.

While the bed tower is complete, the emergency-room renovations are anticipated to be complete by the end of January. So far there are 52 functional rooms, and the end product will boast 60 beds — triple the size of the old ER. With these two facets of the project near completion, it brings the total number of hospital beds from 171 to 211.

“The functionality has just been unbelievable, and we’re really excited about what the ER’s done,” said Mark Marsh, president of Health Central. “It’s at your front door. We think we have the great facilities now so we can truly combine and meet those health care needs at a local level.”

Coming this year are even more additions to the Ocoee campus. The 17,000-square-foot UF Health Cancer Center, currently located across from Health Central off West Colonial Drive, will move to the center of the campus and nearly double in size to 30,000 square feet. With the expansion of the cancer center comes an increase in the number of treatment areas for infusions and chemotherapy, a linear accelerator or external beam radiation treatments.

“Unfortunately cancer touches all of us here, and it’s one of those things we’d like to have the family involved in closely, so we want to make sure we can offer that right here on the campus,” Marsh said.

Another third expansion for Health Central is the upcoming 100-bed skilled-nursing facility. The five-story building will include 60 beds for traditional rehabilitation care and 40 for an Alzheimer’s disease and dementia unit. The plan is to relocate 100 beds from Health Central Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Winter Garden to the new facility, although no plans have been made thus far for the phase of HCP that would be vacated.

Timelines for groundbreaking and estimated completion have not yet been announced.



In September 2016, Validus Senior Living celebrated the opening of its Inspired Living center on Tomyn Boulevard in Ocoee. The senior assisted-living facility is the first of its kind for VSL, and eventually, the company will have 32 more like it across the country. An affiliation with the NFL Alumni Association helps connect local NFL alumni who may be in need of its services — mainly the memory-care units — to the center and its services.

The $30 million, 158-bed center officially opened Sept. 13 and includes amenities such as: a self-serve bistro with gourmet coffee bar, fitness center with exercise classes and salon services, a tiki bar and putting greens, pond with pier and boardwalk, fenced dog park, local transportation by chauffeured town car, swimming pool with ADA lift, library, 24-hour security system and more.

The facility also offers three levels of care: independent living for active seniors, memory care with a specific lifestyle and care plan to suit each resident’s needs, and assisted living for those seniors who need help when health issues arise.

For information on pricing and specific floor plans, visit



Dr. Phillips Inc. broke ground at the beginning of 2016 on its $75-million, 26-acre senior living and health care campus. Spring Lake Health and Living will comprise a 60,000-square-foot medical office building, along with a 180-unit senior housing complex, catering to residents in Dr. Phillips, Bay Hill and Windermere.

“Rarely will you find a community that has invested so much in creating a healthy living campus like you will find here in Dr. Phillips. This one-of-a-kind healthy community fosters a place that people from all over the world will come to visit, tour and experience,” said Kenneth Robinson, president of Dr. Phillips Charities. “We are creating a campus for an aging population that makes it easy for families to stay together and in close proximity to medical services, shopping, retail, grocery stores, the YMCA, residential areas, schools, churches and libraries. This mixed use allows for intergenerational relationships and a strong sense of community.”

In addition, the Orlando Health Medical Pavilion at Spring Lake is on schedule to open sometime in January 2017. It will have offices for primary care physicians and specialists. The three-story building is set to host experts in internal medicine, orthopedics, geriatrics, oncology and cardiology. The Spring Lake project is rounded out by on-site imaging and diagnostic centers, a pharmacy and a cafe.



Florida Hospital celebrated the grand opening of its new emergency room in Winter Garden in February 2016. But even though the facility is not even a year old, the campus is set to undergo another expansion.

“Since its opening, Florida Hospital Winter Garden has seen more than 20,000 patients, illustrating the need for health care options close to home for residents of West Orange County,” said David Breen, corporate communications manager at Florida Hospital.

Florida Hospital is set to begin construction in mid- to late 2017 on a seven-story, 100-bed inpatient tower on the Winter Garden campus. The addition includes a critical-care unit, an on-site intensive care unit, an inpatient surgical fleet, a diagnostic catheterization laboratory and a cafeteria. 

The new tower will be built adjacent to the three-story existing emergency department, which offers year-round emergency services not only to local West Orange residents but also to those in surrounding Central Florida counties. The inpatient tower is expected to open in 2019.



Orlando Health also announced plans for a new 78,000-square-foot hospital, situated off Porter Road on 80 acres near Orange County National Golf Center and Hamlin Town Center. 

The West Orange Healthcare District initially purchased the first 40 acres in 2000 and another 40 in 2005, as it anticipated Horizon West’s growth and an eventual need for a hospital. 

The first phase of the project entails a two-story, freestanding emergency room. The first floor will be dedicated to a 10-bed ER with various diagnostics, CT scanners and laboratories. The second floor includes physician office space. Many of Orlando Health’s doctors on staff will have offices there.

Orlando Health broke ground on the project in early December, and it will take between 14 and 16 months to complete, with a goal of being fully functional by early 2018. The first phase will create between 100 and 150 jobs.

The second phase is not yet solidified, but Marsh said Orlando Health has filed a certificate for a five-story building with 103 acute-care or inpatient beds. Plans and designs are still underway, and a timeline will be established pending required permits. 

“We will continue to grow as that community grows,” Marsh said. “We have plenty of space to be able to do that. The way Horizon West is growing, we have given ourselves plenty of capacity.”


Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].


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