Over the past few months, I’ve received
many questions from employees and community members about the
future of Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center and the
property it sits upon.
Between now and early August, 15 prequalified general
contractors including eight with local ties have been offered
opportunities to submit bids for demolition of the building with
LMHS Board selection of a contractor by the end of August.
Actual demolition should begin in September.
Due to the size of the facility---approximately 470,000 square
feet---and materials left inside, demolition will happen in two
phases. Phase I will be the removal of large items left on the
property such as fuel oil tanks, lead in the drywall of the
radiology rooms and complex materials. Phase I is a normal part
of the demo process because it’s critical that all such elements
are removed properly from a building before it is torn down.
Phase II is the actual demolition of the building. The
demolition will not be dramatic—no explosives or giant wrecking
balls---instead it will be removed in pieces by large equipment.
Dave Kistel, Vice President of Facility Management, and his team
are placing an emphasis on “going green” for this demolition. A
lot of effort has already gone into recycling materials and
making sure the building and its materials have gone to good
use. All technology that was within Southwest Florida Regional
Medical Center and had value to LMHS is now being reused
throughout the System including:
- The MRI now relocated to The Outpatient
- The Cath Lab and EP Lab now in
special procedures rooms now a part of
-One special procedure room will be used at
Cape Coral Hospital
Also, Dave and his team went through the hospital and recycled
furniture and equipment throughout the System. So as you can
see, nothing valuable went to waste or wasn’t recycled!
Community Questions about Southwest Florida Regional Medical
Among the most frequent questions I receive from community
members is why LMHS did not continue to operate the facility as
a hospital or give, sell or lease the building to community
not-for-profit organizations or encourage a Veterans
Administration (VA) hospital to be built there. The answers are
Years ago, HCA—who formerly owned Southwest and Gulf Coast—hired
an independent firm to survey the building. Based on the age,
the allocation of space (floor to floor heights), useful life of
the infrastructure, etc., it became quite clear that the
building couldn’t—and shouldn’t—be renovated or refurbished to
support health care. That is what prompted HCA to begin the
plans to consolidate SWFRMC with Gulf Coast Hospital into the
current Gulf Coast Medical Center.
After SW and GCH joined LMHS, our System also did a survey of
the building and the infrastructure. Our findings were exactly
as the HCA independent firm concluded years ago. The building
was in such bad shape it would be impossible to save…especially
for a health care environment. The infrastructure, along with
the electrical, has exceeded its lifetime.
Additionally, the utility bills for such a large building were
totaling somewhere between $150,000 to $200,000 a month just to
keep the A/C and electric running. In addition to asbestos and
other older building issues, the cost of maintenance and
utilities would have far exceeded the budgets of community
I hope this online column helps answers some questions regarding
Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center, and also the
decisions LMHS made regarding the property. If not, I would love
to hear from you! You can always e-mail your questions to
and we will try to answer within 3 to 5 days.
Jim Nathan, LMHS President