Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Renovations at Baptist Are Nearly Finished; New Beaches Main Entrance Is Set to Be Open at the End of Month

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Renovations at Baptist Are Nearly Finished; New Beaches Main Entrance Is Set to Be Open at the End of Month

Article excerpt

Byline: Maggie FitzRoy

The front of Baptist Medical Center-Beaches hospital was a busy place Tuesday afternoon as construction workers worked on building a new main entrance and patients and visitors came and went from two currently existing front entrances on either side of the new one.

By the end of this month, the new main entrance featuring an open glass front and night lighting is slated to be completed, which will make it easier and more convenient for people to access the hospital, John Bilello, assistant administrator support services, said.

After that, workers will begin phase two of the front renovation project, which will feature a renovation and expansion of the cafeteria dining room near the lobby. The existing cafeteria, gift shop, and lobby will be closed until April when that construction is expected to be completed. Bilello said the construction "is part of an overall campus plan" that includes the recently opened Baptist Beaches Surgery Center next to the hospital.

One of the current front entrances leads into the lobby, while the other leads to the East Pavilion wing of the hospital that was completed in 2006. Since people can become confused as to which direction to go when they drive up to the hospital, those entrances will be closed and a concourse will connect those areas, Bilello said.

An information desk will be located in the concourse at the new main entrance.

The latest construction is part of a decades-long expansion and renovation trend at the hospital in Jacksonville Beach, which has grown over the years to serve the needs of the Beaches community.

The original Beaches Hospital was built in 1961 as a one-story tax-supported facility. In the mid-1980's a $12 million multistory facility was built next to the existing hospital, opening in November 1988 as First Coast Medical Center. Baptist Health acquired the center in 1990, changed its name to Baptist Medical Center-Beaches, and over the next ten years added a larger emergency department, two medical office buildings, expanded surgery and recovery room areas, an outpatient wing and a conference room and chapel.

A Women's Pavilion offering maternity services opened in 1997, the emergency center's capacity was doubled in 2001, and a diagnostic and rehabilitative center was acquired and renovated. Construction of the East Pavilion began in 2003 and a fourth floor was added three years later. Twenty four more private rooms were added to the third floor in 2008. …

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