Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by 2022.
Ascension St. Vincent’s announced July 24 that it would build a hospital in Fountains North.
The mixed-use development is in St. Johns County at Interstate 95 and County Road 210. Construction on the hospital is expected to begin this fall and be completed in 2022, a news release said.
The $115 million, 150,000-square-foot facility will house 56 beds, including eight intensive care unit beds. It will offer emergency services, short-term care, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and musculoskeletal care, general surgical services, laboratory and imaging services.
There will be room for expansion on the campus. Chief Strategy Officer David Meyer said it could eventually accommodate up to 300 beds. It will expand as demand warrants, he said.
The hospital is expected to create 600 jobs.
“Our significant investment in this wonderful community is rooted in our desire to continue creating new options for St. Johns County residents to get the care they need, with the highest quality and compassion available, right here at home, right when they need us,” Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast President and CEO Tom VanOsdol said in the release.
“Since opening our health center in St. Johns County nearly three years ago, we’ve seen a consistent increase in demand for clinically excellent and convenient care and we look forward to serving local individuals and families in this new way,” he said.
VanOsdol said the hospital will be designed with COVID-19 in mind. Meeting rooms, offices and waiting spaces will be large enough to accommodate spacing between people.
It operates a Health Center off County Road 210, which offers primary and urgent care services. It will remain open.
The Fountains center will be the system’s first hospital in St. Johns County. Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine is the only full-service hospital in the county.
The news release said the system chose the hospital’s location through an analysis of where services were needed most. According to Claritas Demographics, St. Johns is the fastest growing county in Northeast Florida, the release said.
It also has the second-highest population-to-acute-care-bed ratio in the state, which means residents often leave the county for hospital care. Meyer said that around 55% of St. Johns County residents who require hospitalization do not receive the care in their county.
“We are so proud to be working with Ascension St. Vincent’s to bring this critical service to an area of the county where there is a huge unmet need,” St. Johns County Deputy County Administrator Joy Andrews said in the release.
“We, as a county, are aggressively pursuing balanced and measured growth and expansion of the healthcare industry in all specialties of healthcare. This new facility will serve our most populated geographic areas and play a critical role for the continued health and well-being of our community,” Andrews said.
VanOsdol said he thinks other systems may also move into the area.
“I would be speculating, but I think it’s certainly possible,” he said. “We are certainly aiming to be first and build a really strong, high-quality facility and set of services that provide access to the care that the residents and families of that area need.”
Ascension St. Vincent’s spokesman Kyle Sieg confirmed in March that the system was looking for a site in St. Johns County along I-95, but wouldn’t say where.
“It is an extension of our mission to bring access to care to everyone, including those most in need throughout our broader community,” VanOsdol said. “We’re going to serve the needs before others are there and establish ourselves and make sure we’re the first to move into that space and solve for that need.”
In June, the system terminated a contract to build the hospital at World Commerce Center in northern St. Johns County.