Friday, November 6, 2009

WMC’s expansion plans to proceed (The Winchester Star)

By Rebecca Layne
The Winchester Star
November 5, 2009

WINCHESTER — A major segment of the expansion project at Winchester Medical Center will begin construction Nov. 20.

The city Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on Wednesday approved $175 million in bonds to finance the overall project.

It has been in the planning stages for three years, and some phases of the work have begun.

“Population is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade, and demand suggests there will be a need for expansion,” said Tom Urtz, director of marketing and public relations for Valley Health, the hospital’s parent organization.

The next phase will be the construction of a six-story North Tower, a one-story addition to the heart and vascular section, and a 29,000-square-foot clinical laboratory.

The tower will include an expanded emergency room and 135,000 square feet in shell space on the top two floors. Work on the tower will begin in January.

The expansion will enable the hospital to increase the number of beds from 411 to 445. Its staff will add 150-200 clinical jobs.

The overall project will add about 356,000 square feet to the WMC complex and will include the renovation of about 78,000 square feet in the emergency department, loading dock, and other areas.

The construction of a $10 million, five-level, 560-space parking garage began in April and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

A $20 million outpatient diagnostic center was completed in the spring.

“In order to meet growing community need with the increase in population and demand, the number of beds and services need to increase,” said Craig Lewis, WMC’s chief financial officer. “We want to meet these needs for the next 30 to 40 years.”

The construction is expected to be finished in early 2012. The contractor for the project is Whiting-Turner.

The bonds will be tax-exempt with a variable interest rate at 4.5 percent and a fixed-interest rate at “mid-5 percent,” Lewis said. The bonds will be sold by the IDA to BB&T, TD Bank, US Bank, and Wachovia.

WMC is a tax-exempt, nonprofit regional referral hospital. It is a member of Valley Health, which operates five other hospitals: Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal, Shenandoah Memorial Hospital in Woodstock, Page Memorial Hospital in Luray, Hampshire Memorial Hospital in Romney, W.Va., and War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at

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