MILLVILLE — Beebe Healthcare officials and a community in general were beaming with excitement Thursday.
Construction of the South Coastal Health Campus — a year-round freestanding 24/7 emergency department and a second site for Beebe’s award-winning cancer center — is well under way and progress was marked with a beam and wall signing ceremony June 13.
“The sun always comes out for Beebe,” said Judy Aliquo, president of the Beebe Medical Foundation, noting the rainy deluge earlier that day. “Every event we have had it has been amazing. Beebe is a really great place because the sun always shines on Beebe.”
Construction will continue throughout 2019 with the planned opening of the new emergency department in May of 2020. The cancer center is scheduled to open in July 2020. Groundbreaking was held last fall.
“The work that has been done here in seven months is very impressive to me and hopefully it is impressive to all of you as well,” said Rick Schaffner, Beebe’s interim CEO and executive vice president/chief operating officer.
“We continue to do great work on this particular project. We are on time; we are on budget and we are on schedule. I will say it is going to be a huge benefit come next year. We are tremendously pleased.”
In March, construction crews completed pouring the concrete foundations for the new building. The majority of the underground electrical and plumbing was installed.
At Thursday’s event, members of the community joined Beebe staff and managing, architectural and other firms involved in the project in the beam and exterior wall signing event held approximately seven months after ground was broken at the Roxana Road (SR 17) site near the intersection of Burbage Road.
“One of things that is important about today is it gives us the opportunity to continue to involve all of you in the progress of this great facility,” Mr. Schaffner said. “Obviously, the steel beams are very important for us. Walls are very important for us. They really form the foundation of what the building is going to do. So, allowing everyone to kind of participate and really put your name – it will not necessarily be seen; you will have opportunities on the donor wall to have you name seen – you are part of this project. You are part of the foundation of this project.”
Projected cost of the South Coastal project is approximately $48 million – part of a $200 million-plus expansion project that is the largest in Beebe’s 100-plus year history.
Beebe’s multi-pronged plans include conversion of semi-private rooms to private rooms and other enhancements at the hospital campus in Lewes and a new specialty surgical hospital in Rehoboth.
The South Coastal cancer center will feature the same comprehensive care as already provided at Tunnell Cancer Center on SR 24 near Rehoboth Beach.
“Everything that you find at Rehoboth you will find here,” said Mr. Schaffner.
Mr. Schaffner said the project will serve identified needs in the area, noting the new emergency department will augment full diagnostic imaging, physical rehabilitation services, laboratory and walk-in care currently offered at Beebe’s walk-in clinic in nearby Millville.
“We’ve got walk-in care now, but I think the ability to have a full-service emergency department with imaging and things of that nature is critically important,” Mr. Schaffner said. “We have board certified emergency department physicians. We’ve got accredited certified emergency department nurses, so it is going to be a much higher level of care much closer to home.”
Mr. Aliquo spoke about the support from the community.
“I have been so inspired by the generosity of the community, especially a lot of folks from south coastal,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of new donors, a lot of new investors, because they are so excited that Beebe is coming close to home to them.”
Rehoboth Beach project
Beebe Healthcare held a groundbreaking ceremony at the future home of its Specialty Surgical Hospital at the Rehoboth Health Campus on May 15.
The $124 million, four-story, state-of-the-art surgery center will allow patients with scheduled surgeries to not compete for services with more acutely sick patients and emergency patients of a general acute-care hospital.
It will feature the Center for Robotic Surgery, and future home of the Women’s Health Labor & Delivery floor, where expectant families can continue to deliver babies in a family-centered, dedicated environment. The expected opening is in 2022.
Rollins Lewes Campus
Beebe is renovating the west entrance of its Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus to make the campus easier to navigate for patients and visitors. Renovation will make the west entrance more visible which will improve the drop-off and pick-up experience.
Some features of the renovation:
• more defined main entrance;
• more visible drop-off and pick-up area;
• new canopy.
The project is expected to be completed around January of 2020.