Southeastern Medical Center MOB on schedule for a Fall Finish

LUMBERTON — In less than a year, where a go-cart track, driving range and putt-putt once stood, will be an 80,000-square-foot medical center.

Southeastern Health Park, on Dawn Drive near Exit 22 on Interstate 95, is on scheduled to open in the fall.

Once operational, the $22 million facility will house two floors of medical offices as well as a 13,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center, according to David Sumner, vice president of Human Services and Planning for Southeastern Health. All services at the center will be outpatient and there will not be an emergency department.

About 60 crew members have been working since Dec. 4 to build the facility. In three months, about 90 additional workers will be needed to put in drywall and the electrical and mechanical systems, according to James Gardener, the superintendent overseeing the site’s daily progress for Robins and Morton construction company.

On Friday, the building was being fireproofed. Crews had recently finished pouring concrete on the second and third floors, a process that took 13 hours per level, according to Project Manager Patrick Barrett.

Despite recent rain and cold spells, Gardener said construction is on track. The exterior walls should start to go up next week. From the total cost of the project, $16.5 million will go towards construction.

The facility will support about 6,000 surgeries and 2,500 endoscopy procedures each year, Sumner said. In addition, Sumner said about 200 patients are expected to visit physicians’ offices each day.

“Out of the three biggest things we’ve got going on, that’s probably the biggest,” Sumner said. Southeastern Health is also currently expanding its Gibson Cancer Center and recently purchased the FirstHealth complex in Pembroke.

The medical center will offer a range of outpatient surgeries, and Sumner said “that list is growing every day” as medical advancements shorten operation and recovery times.

Patients at Southeastern Health Park could undergo orthopedic, pain management and podiatric surgery at the new campus, as well as other small general surgeries, Sumner said. Physicians in the field of orthopedics, gastroenterology, pain management and physical therapy will be able to have offices there.

According to Sumner, the project is intended to help cut down on patients’ hospital stays — and in turn, costs to both the hospital and the patient. It should also help ease the strain on Southeastern Regional Medical Center, which sees about 16,000 inpatients and 76,000 emergency patients annually, by giving outpatient visitors somewhere else to go.

“They’re having to come here and compete for a parking space and fight through the large mass of a hospital,” Sumner said.

Four operating rooms and two endoscopy suites at Southeastern Regional Medical Center will be closed, reopening at Southeastern Health Park, Sumner said. According to Sumner, plans for the vacant rooms are yet to be determined.

Southeastern Health has currently committed to building just one structure on the 26-acre site, but according to Sumner, the plot has the capacity to hold several others. Sumner said Southeastern Health is developing the land with the hope of expanding in the next 25 years.

According to Gardener and Barrett, much of the labor and materials for the project were sourced locally. Local companies Sutton Concrete, McKenzie Supply Company and McArthur Construction Company are all involved.

Weekly video updates on Southeastern Health Park’s progress can be viewed on Southeastern Health’s YouTube channel, SeHealthLumberton.

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