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Demolition Plans for Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center (SWFRMC)

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 

               Center at The Sanctuary
       - The Cath Lab and EP Lab now in GCMC

       - Two special procedures rooms now a part of

                Lee Memorial Hospital
      -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 Center
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 relatively simple.

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 agencies.

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 Ihaveaquestion@leememorial.org, and we will try to answer within 3 to 5 days.

 

Peace,

Jim Nathan, LMHS President

 

Jim Nathan,
LMHS President

 

 

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