SMH-Venice reaches halfway point in construction of new hospital for South County

Completion expected this fall

Representatives of Sarasota Memorial and Gilbane Building Co. celebrate during the ‘topping out’ ceremony. Image courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

In spite of “challenges to supply chains and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continues full-steam ahead” on the new hospital Sarasota Memorial is building at the intersection of Laurel and Pinebrook roads, just off Interstate 75 in Venice, the hospital reported this week.

On April 17, several representatives of Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) and its construction team “gathered for a traditional, but socially distanced ‘topping out’ ceremony to celebrate a major milestone — reaching the building’s highest level (in this case 82 feet) and marking the pivotal halfway point in the hospital construction project,” a news release pointed out.

“In a ritual that dates back to ancient times, the construction team signed the highest beam and hoisted it to the rooftop along with a tree to symbolize bringing life to the building,” the release said.

“Topping out is a transformational step in a building’s construction, and especially meaningful for the more than 600 workers who have persevered through months of rain, extreme heat, and the many challenges and uncertainties of this pandemic,” said SMH-Venice President Sharon Roush in the release. “It’s also an important milestone for SMH and the residents of south Sarasota County. It brings us ever closer to opening our new facility,” she added in the release.

Employees of the general contractor, Gilbane Building Co. of Sarasota, noted that, since site preparation began in late February 2019, the construction team has worked 390 days and 321,500 hours to bring the 365,000-square-foot, five-story hospital to this phase, the release added. “In recent weeks, the transformation has continued, with crews busily working on exterior walls and windows, framing interior rooms and spaces, and installing electrical, mechanical, medical gas and plumbing systems,” the release noted.

Slated to be complete in the fall, SMH-Venice initially will have 110 private patient rooms, a 28-room Emergency Care Center and eight surgical suites, the release said. Among the all-private suites will be “a 10-bed Labor & Delivery/Post-Partum Unit, where women can deliver and room with their babies throughout their recovery,” the release added.

Another view shows the medical center under construction. Image courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

The 65-acre hospital campus is designed to be flexible and expandable, with the capacity to grow to 300 patient rooms, 16 operating rooms and a 50-bed Emergency Room, to accommodate future growth, the release noted.

Sarasota Memorial expects to open the Venice hospital with 600 to 700 staff members “and bring its extensive physician base farther south, which in turn will help build the medical staff for a future SMH hospital in North Port,” the release pointed out.

SMH-Venice will be a full-service, acute-care hospital designed to serve the growing south Sarasota County region, the release explained. It is “the most significant expansion in Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s 95-year history,” the release added.

SMH-Venice will plan celebrations for the community once the pandemic subsides, the release said. Ongoing updates and a video of the Topping Out ceremony are available at