Orlando Health breaks ground on Horizon West hospital
By the beginning of 2018, the first phase of Orlando Health’s newest hospital in Horizon West should be complete.
| 3:48 p.m. January 19, 2017
West Orange Times & Observer
HORIZON WEST As development comes along and population increases in Horizon West — one of the fastest-growing communities in Orange County — the time to work toward bringing health care options to those residents is now.
And on Thursday, Jan. 19, Orlando Health and the West Orange Healthcare District officially broke ground on the site of Horizon West’s own future freestanding emergency room and hospital.
The 40-acre property is conveniently located off of State Road 429 and situated near the intersection of Avalon and Porter roads.
“Health Central’s commitment is to provide health care services where there’s an appropriate population. We’ve been patiently waiting for enough growth to get out there and put up facilities,” said Mark Marsh, president of Health Central Hospital. “Now that there are enough people there (we can get) a state-of-the-art emergency room and board-certified physicians to take care of those folks right there.”
Over the last few years, the two organizations have teamed up to identify health care needs in the West Orange County area and fulfill them. Several projects have already been completed, some are soon to be completed, and some will come to fruition in the next couple of years.
It’s all part of a $100 million plan to bring accessible, preventative and acute care to residents in years to come, and the health care district has funded $75 million of the $100 million. It also purchased the 40 acres of land this new hospital in Horizon West will sit on.
“Orlando Health has been ready to expand and continue to bring quality services to West Orange, and that’s the goal of the district,” said Tracy Swanson, executive director at the WOHD. “The district foresaw the expansion West Orange was going to have. Orlando Health was deemed to be the strongest partner the district felt could advance the vision. That land (for the hospital) was transitioned, and they have continued to advance and work on creating plans and strategy for bringing it to fruition.”
The Horizon West hospital project comes in two phases, the first of which is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2018. This phase includes a two-story, 78,000-square-foot freestanding emergency room, with 10 beds on the first floor and physician office spaces on the second floor. It will have 12 patient exam rooms, and four more rooms to be used for patient observation, said Rick Smith, chief operating office of Health Central.
A timeline for the second phase has not yet been announced, but it will consist of a six-level, 214,000-square-foot building with 103 acute-care beds. It will directly connect with the ER. And although having acute care will be beneficial to the community, Marsh said that preventative care is just as important.
“Preventative care ties into the Healthy West Orange movement, so ultimately we want to make sure West Orange is one of the healthiest communities in the entire nation. It’s really a lot of education and getting people involved,” Marsh said. “We’ll have the ER and acute care, but we want to both prevent people from having to go to the hospital and promote healthy lifestyles.”
The new campus is located about 12 miles from the main campus, but Orlando Health and WOHD representatives are excited to be a part of offering health care close to home for a developing and growing community.
“Not only are we supporting access to high-tech and specialty care, we’re bringing it close to the residents,” Norma Sutton, chairwoman of the WOHD, said at the groundbreaking. “For better health outcomes, proximity is key. This project will help our residents live happier and healthier lives.”
For now, anyone who drives down Porter Road will be able to see the property, once filled with trees, transform into a medical complex that will soon serve thousands of people.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s about access and bringing health care to the local level,” Marsh said. “You want primary and preventative health care close to where you live. This dovetails around our mission of quality care and providing quality services in a patient-friendly environment.”