AdventHealth this week welcomed its first patients to its new inpatient tower in Winter Garden.
The $229.5 million, five-story tower at 2000 Fowler Grove Blvd. has 80 beds and measures about 227,000 square feet.
The new inpatient tower, which broke ground in 2019, will offer a multitude of new services, including advanced gynecology, cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, neurology, spine health and urology.
Kari Vargas, president and CEO of AdventHealth Winter Garden, said the organization designed the building with the patient at the center of its thinking and an emphasis on “whole person care.”
“I’m proud of what we do and how we care for the whole person, mind, body and spirit, and we do that in the way that Christ would have done it,” Vargas said. “I’ve never felt like I had to compromise my values, because they’re so aligned with this organization, and you truly see and feel that when you come into this establishment.”
Vargas said the tower aims to complement the existing services the facility already has and will be a full-service community hospital.
The 97,000-square-foot freestanding emergency room now will serve as the hospital’s emergency department.
“We want people to be able to receive their trusted AdventHealth care close to home,” Vargas said.
Since 2000, the Winter Garden area has grown quickly, adding more than 30,000 residents to the area.
As the community continues to expand, the health care facility is adjusting to dedicate its efforts to the need.
Stepping into the new inpatient tower, ground floor visitors are welcomed with the ambiance of what they know is a hospital but what feels like home.
Vargas said AdventHealth wants to be innovative and cutting-edge while also having a personal touch. Quality and safety is as important as the experience.
Large glass windows flow throughout the facility and provide an abundance of natural light.
The ground floor is also home to a multitude of conference room space, which allows residents and the health care staff to continue in their mission of educating the community.
Vargas said the hospital seeks not only to care for people when they’re sick, but also provides a place of comfort for the community to care for people in health.
The neutral, calming colors of the hospital interior complement the artwork adorning the walls. The rich history of the area’s citrus groves is featured with unique artwork and even a mural on the back wall of the indoor dining area.
The indoor dining area offers an array of food options for patients and their families. The cafeteria will focus on healthy, fresh food.
AdventHealth officials said the company has worked to ensure it can bring food to its teams, patients and guests that will provide comfort but in a healthier way. For example, the organization has invested in air fryers to be able to bring fried food in a healthier manner in addition to fresh produce available in the farmer’s market corner.
Another unique aspect of the facility is its outdoor courtyard located next to the tower.
The green space will allow friends and family to step outside to get sunshine and fresh air during their stay.
Each of the inpatient rooms are single occupancy and feature a private bathroom. Wall monitors keep an eye on patient oxygen levels and can alert staff to any abnormal issues. In addition, small white boards are located in the room so staff, patients and family members can stay up to date on the latest medical information.
“We want to make sure we are serving the patients and the families as best as we can and we know communication is really important for both the care team and the family,” Vargas said. “This is a labor of love, and we are really passionate about what we do and what we stand for.”
The entire hospital also has a centralized patient monitoring system. There is a full service lab, seven surgery rooms and a dedicated imaging level which features technology like X-rays and CT scans.
AdventHealth even thought about its patients in terms of smaller details, deciding not to put traditional lights down the center of the corridor in the patient floors. Vargas explained most patients are on a bed lying down, and the staff does not want the light shining directly in the eye and causing discomfort.
The new tower also has a chapel to serve people who are going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. The chapel is in addition to the existing chapel near the emergency department.
New parking will now be available for team members in the back of the building, clearing up parking space in the front for patients and family members.
According to AdventHealth Winter Garden, about 60% of its staff are local residents, allowing the employees to embed themselves in the needs of their neighbors, friends and family.
For Vargas, it’s an exciting time in AdventHealth’s journey but also in her personal journey.
Vargas has lived in West Orange County since the mid-1980s and served as an intern for AdventHealth for two years in her graduate program at Rollins College before joining the team upon graduation.
On Jan. 8, 2021, she was named president and CEO for the AdventHealth Winter Garden location and CEO for the West Orange and South Lake market located in AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.
Now, she is a huge part of the opening of the inpatient tower.
“It’s very personal for me,” she said. “It’s truly amazing watching it come together. Every time we were in the building, we saw something new added on and we saw the vision coming together.”
AdventHealth said it plans to open Winter Garden in a phased approach, with plans for additional operating rooms already on the way for the fall.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of cubic yards of concrete used to construct the tower. That’s enough concrete to build an 18-mile, two-lane road from AdventHealth Winter Garden to AdventHealth Orlando.
The amount in tons of structural and reinforcing steel used in the tower. That’s comparable to the weight of 21 space shuttles.
The number of construction jobs the tower brought to the area. Now open, the tower also will bring 400 medical and support jobs to the community.