By Terry Rogers
On Tuesday, November 18, Bayhealth announced plans to build a new $250 million health campus along Route 1 at the corner of Wilkins Road and Cedar Creek Road. According to Terry Murphy, President and CEO of Bayhealth, the facility will include a hospital, outpatient center and physicians’ offices. Bayhealth hopes to break ground in mid- to late 2015 and hopes to have the new facility operational in 2018.
“This location will allow us to build the infrastructure we need with minimal disruption during the construction process,” Mr. Murphy explained. “This campus will change lives in Delaware and has been a team effort between our staff, the city and our legislators.” Mr. Murphy explained that they will be hiring an adaptive use firm in order to determine how to reuse the current hospital located on Clarke Avenue.
Mr. Murphy explained that there would be significant community involvement regarding the new hospital as well as suggestions for using the current facility. Mike Ashton, Administrator for the Bayhealth Milford Campus said that the hospital was planning a series of Town Hall meetings in order to get the input of the community regarding both the new and the current facility.
“We will post meeting dates on our website, ImagineDE.com,” Mr. Ashton explained. “That site will be the central hub for getting information on the plans and progress of the facility. We want to hear from you. This hospital will help us realize a stronger community, but we must imagine it together.”
Governor Jack Markell was on hand for the announcement and commended Mayor Bryan Shupe and Milford City Council for what was happening in Milford, as well as Senator Gary Simpson , Representatives Harvey Kenton and Jack Peterman for being strong advocates for the people of Milford.
“I see great things happening in Milford and it should be a model for other towns in the state,” Governor Markell said. “This new hospital is a win on so many levels. There is no question people deserve the best in healthcare, but this will also be beneficial for economic development. When businesses see that there is first class healthcare available on a campus worthy of that care, it is something they can grab onto when they are seeking to open a business or relocate to an area.” Governor Markell also commended Bayhealth on the reuse of an existing facility with the input of citizens.
Mayor Shupe said that he was very excited to be part of the announcement and that it was an impetus for the future of healthcare in the area. He said that the campus promises to be a catalyst for growth in the community.
“A modern health campus attracts employers and insures growth,” Mayor Shupe said. “When Mr. Murphy first sat down to talk to Richard Carmean and I about the possibility of a new facility, we all determined that, above all, excellent healthcare should be the primary focus. I think this achieves that goal. I am also pleased with the plans to get community input into the existing Clarke Avenue facility’s continued use.”
Dr. Jose Guzman, Director of Medical Staff at Bayhealth Milford said that he was honored to share the medical staff perspective and that the announcement was a celebration of past events as well as a look into the future.
“The new facility will allow the medical staff more time to spend with our patients,” Dr. Guzman said. “We will have the best and brightest in healthcare which will allow us to focus on the patient more and build better relationships with them. This extends the legacy that has always been prevalent in Milford and that is that the patient’s needs are of primary importance.”
Mr. Ashton explained that Bayhealth was in the early stages of planning the new campus and that they intended to obtain input from state and local officials, as well as community leaders and citizens.
“We need the input of the people who will use this facility,” Mr. Ashton said. “You are why we are here.”