Lee Health board approves $306M hospital expansion project

Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health's board of directors approved a $306 million expansion project for Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, according to the News Press.

The 367,000-square-foot, two-story expansion will add 268 beds at the hospital for a grand total of 624. The project will also bolster the hospital's radiology department, pharmacy and clinical laboratory. Additionally, as part of the project, the region's trauma center will move from Lee Memorial in downtown Fort Myers to Gulf Coast Medical Center.

The increased capital spending for Lee Health left some board members with reservations. The health system has already spent more than $41 million planning the expansion and constructing a new parking garage for Gulf Coast Medical Center. Additionally, Lee Health recently constructed a $242 million Fort Myers-based Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida and is in the process of building a $140 million medical campus in Estero, Fla. However, the board agreed to the new expansion project due to overcrowding in recent years at Gulf Coast Medical Center.

"If I didn't have the confidence in the leadership, I wouldn’t be voting for this," David Collins, a member of the board told the News Press. "It's a big nut, spending that kind of money. But the community needs it." 

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