By Dale Bliss
Since its beginning, in 1953, South Florida Baptist Hospital has seen major additions, new technology and has cared for many patients. And yet, there was still more to come!
The same shovel that broke ground with the original South Florida Baptist Hospital, all those decades ago, found its way and honor in breaking ground for the future hospital located on East Sam Allen and North Park Roads in Plant City.
On October 18, 2022, Karen Kerr, BayCare Executive Vice-President along with St. Joseph’s-Baptist Board Chairman, Ralph Garcia and South Florida Baptist’s Medical Board Chairman, Dr. Juli Jeffrey attended the historic event with approximately 200 people in attendance.
Mike Sparkman, former mayor and lifelong citizen of Plant City, is excited and happy about the new facility. “It is quite a big facility and is very much wanted and needed. We are thrilled to have it.”
The former Mayor continued, “It is going to be first class with new technology and a tremendous asset to our community.” BayCare really put forth an effort to give us up-to-date and state of the art technology.”
Updates and new technology are not foreign to Plant City’s current facility. In 1969 a three-story hospital wing was added. Then in 2017 a Heart and Vascular Center was another addition to the medical facility.
With its completion the hospital will stand six floors tall and have two-six story towers. It will have 146 private rooms and more room to expand. There will be 26 ICU beds. The new emergency room will have a 30-bed capacity with an addition of four interventional/cardiac Cath suites. The surgery center will have a capacity of 8 beds.
The hospital grounds will include a medical office building. This will give access to physicians. The grounds will also include rehabilitation facilities. Additionally, the campus will include imaging and wound care.
Expected completion of the 420,000-foot medical facility is sometime in 2024 with a “projected cost of $326 million.”
The BayCare Communications office was exceedingly helpful with information for the exciting event and readily available for facts and details.
Mayor Nate Kilton relayed his enthusiasm for the new facility. “We are very excited about the expansion of the new hospital.” South Florida Baptist Hospital is an institution and has been in our community for about 70 years.”
Mayor Kilton continued, “We are so grateful to Karen Kerr and her team and look forward to their continued support for the health and wellness in Plant City.”