Construction crews are working to complete a major $300 million replacement facility for Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi, which will serve Oxford, Lafayette County and the surrounding area. The new five-story structure will have 602,831 sq. ft. (56,004 sq m), including 217 beds with more comprehensive medical and surgical services.
“With the growth our area has experienced in the last decade, building a newer, updated hospital to serve the community became an easy decision,” said Bill Henning, administrator and CEO of Baptist North Mississippi. “The new hospital is a replacement hospital with the same number of beds as the current hospital. However, the new building will afford us the space to add new services, the flexibility for future changes in patient care and provide the infrastructure for new technology and enhanced patient care.”
Officials have stated that a bigger, more modern facility will allow Baptist to better serve patients and offer more convenience to those it serves.
“The replacement hospital is being built across the street from the current hospital, which is located on Lamar Avenue,” said Henning. “We bought 140 acres on the west side of the current hospital that was all wooded, and have cleared the site and built a connecting road from South Lamar to Old Taylor, which is called Belk Boulevard.”
Robins & Morton is serving as the general contractor on the project. Site work began in early January 2015. The projected date for receiving the first patient is December 2017.
More than 9,400 ft.
(2,865 m) of storm drain piping has already been installed, along with 7,930 ft. (2,417 m) of water piping and 3,920 ft. (1,194 m) of sewer piping. There’s also 47,000 tons (42,637 t) of crushed limestone base, with curbing and asphalt on 50 percent of future site roads and parking.
Deep foundations involve 2,295 piles. They are 14-in. (35 cm) diameter and up to 35 ft. (10.6 m) deep. Each can support 75 tons (68 m). Tower crane one is 180-ft. (54.8 m) high, while tower crane two is 220-ft. (67 m) high. Both have a reach of 262 ft. (79.8 m), and can pick up 32 tons (29 t).
The initial phase of site work and the utility installation was completed at the end of July. Deep foundation piles were finished in late June. Work continues on the concrete structure, and soon crews will be starting on the exterior building skin. Interior build-out is scheduled to begin next March, with a completion date of May 2017.
Hennings said, “When Baptist became affiliated with the Oxford facility in 1989, the system committed to expanding the facility into a regional referral center. Since then, Baptist has invested more than $160 million into the current facility, and the medical staff has grown from 20 to more than 120 physicians. The level of care has transformed the hospital into a regional referral center, offering open-heart surgery and a wealth of other high-level services.”
Henning also said the community is very supportive of the new hospital.
“It’s exciting times. Oxford is growing by leaps and bounds, and the community considers itself very fortunate to have the medical staff we have, offering over 40 specialties in a community the size of Oxford, not to mention a new hospital that will serve as a regional referral center.
“As our medical staff continues to grow and as we add more specialties, Baptist North Mississippi is capable of servicing a 12-county area,” Henning said. “People are now realizing that they don’t have to drive to the big city. Baptist is offering the same care you get in Memphis or Jackson, but just closer to home for the surrounding communities.”
As for the eventual transfer to the new campus Henning said, “We are already working with several different companies that specialize in the transition phase. They will start meeting with our team at the current hospital soon, to begin planning the moving of any equipment to the new hospital, as well moving the patients in December 2017.”
The new hospital construction has prompted other development in the medical community surrounding the hospital. Several developers have bought property on South Lamar and are developing it for new medical complexes and freestanding medical clinics that several physicians are relocating to at this time.
In addition, the YMCA plans to build a new facility with expanded services in the area, and a hotel is taking shape across from the current hospital. It will be the first hotel in Oxford that’s close to the hospital, offering patients and their families from outside Lafayette a convenient place to stay.
The new campus reportedly represents one of the largest economic developments in the history of Oxford and Lafayette County, and will continue to position Baptist North Mississippi as a regional referral center.
According to Jon Maynard, president and CEO, Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, the new hospital reflects more than a brick and mortar facility for the area.
“The new hospital represents an investment in our community. The upgrade in facilities will help us treat patients with the latest equipment in a state-of-the-art facility that is designed to grow with the demand of the healthcare needs of the region.
“The psychological impact, however is much more than that. It allows us to recruit new physicians and new services to our area like never before. The investment by Baptist Hospital indicates a faith in the economic strength of our community. Their commitment to building a new facility in Oxford is indicative of the sort of sustainable, high quality growth that our community is experiencing.”
Maynard said the hospital already has a significant economic impact on the community and region.
“The construction jobs and the purchase of materials will have a very high, but somewhat short lived, impact on the local economy. The long-term impact will more likely than not double what the hospital currently offers. I say that in respect of the ability to recruit new physicians, new patients and to purchase new equipment that could not be done with the outdated facility in place today.”
The city and county worked together to make the new hospital a reality. The construction is one more indication that the area is expanding at a rapid pace.
“Lafayette County has grown at a rate of 22 percent in each of the last two census periods,” Maynard said. “That puts us on pace to have three decades of more than 20 percent growth. We are the fastest growing county in Mississippi from 2010 to 2014. The University of Mississippi is currently experiencing the highest rate of enrollment and retention in its history. The growth that Oxford is experiencing has been happening for a long time, and is projected to increase at an accelerated rate.”
According to Harold Petty, AIA, Earl Swensson Associates (ESa) principal/medical design director, “Baptist Memorial’s vision is to replace the existing hospital with a new state-of-the-art facility that will better serve the fast-growing region of North Mississippi. Renovation and expansion of this facility aren’t economically feasible due to its aging structures and inability to expand to meet increased patient clinical service needs. Other issues include inadequate real estate in the existing location to expand the hospital in place and provide other clinical space needs.
“The biggest challenge on this job is the design and construction of a new access road to the site that connects Belk Boulevard to South Lamar and Old Taylor Road, which are two main arteries. This new road will provide easy access to the hospital for the patients as well as emergency vehicles. The location of the road impacted the way we master planned and located the building on the site.”
As far as how the assignment differs from other structures the firm has worked on Petty said, “With a hospital design, there are 30 to 40 departments that must come together and agree on a working model that will be operationally efficient and best service patients, staff and physicians.
“Non-health care projects do not have the complexity of a hospital project.
“All the major clinical departments are designed and located for future growth to meet the needs of Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi for the next 50 years. It was exciting to help them interpret their vision and prepare them to meet the health care needs of the area they serve.”
Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi in Oxford is an acute care facility serving the northern third of Mississippi. One of the fastest growing hospitals in the region, Baptist North Mississippi has more than 90 medical and surgical specialists focusing on cardiology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology and various other fields.
Since joining the Baptist Memorial Health Care System in 1989, Baptist has invested more than $150 million into the hospital, and the facility has experienced continuous renovation and construction.