This winter Summerville Medical Center will break ground on a $53 million expansion for women’s and children’s services.
Not only will the facility provide expanded patient care, according to hospital officials, but it will become the primary site for delivering babies within Trident Health System.
“As a mom I know that the birth of a child is one of the most important days in our life. It absolutely is,” CEO Lisa Valentine said during a press conference Thursday announcing the big news. “Here at Summerville we celebrate our families, and we’re dedicated to taking great care of them.”
Completion of the large-scale initiative is set for 2019, though an exact date remains fluid.
The project was motivated by rapid tri-county expansion, population growth and the desire to ensure “a healthy community,” according to Valentine, who assumed her leadership role two years ago. Since then she’s been helping hospital staff discover innovative ways to “respond to that growth.”
“One of the things we saw really quickly was just the growth in young families,” she said, “and obstetrics just made sense to us, particularly how to provide a better environment.”
Valentine said Trident Health hospitals, which include Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, deliver more babies than any other Lowcountry hospital, making it the “number one choice for families.”
But in order to successfully meet the community’s growing needs and demands, a team effort is required.
“We are all in this together,” Valentine said. “As we grow it takes our chambers, our elected officials (and) our businesses working together to provide a community where families want to grow in and residents want to relocate to. We’re really proud to be a part of that process.”
Catherine Holly, the hospital’s spokeswoman, said patients have always been “so loyal,” and it’ll be nice to provide better services for them.
“The people we encounter love Summerville,” Holly said.
Construction will be broken up into phases, the details of which have yet to be determined. But hospital officials plan to seek the opinions of clinicians, physicians and patients on the expansion’s design, Valentine said.
The expansion will include a 50,000-square-foot Women’s Pavilion with 30 additional beds, extra labor and delivery rooms, a C-section procedure room, newborn nursery rooms and level II nursery rooms.
“Anything that requires services for mom and baby,” Valentine said.
Advanced monitoring and imaging equipment will also be added inside the current hospital facility to support a step-down ICU unit, according to a press release.
Valentine said the 30-bed addition in particular is an effort the hospital has actually been working on since 2010. The state gave final approval for it in 2014.
According to Beth Cook, both an OB/GYN doctor and chief medical officer at Summerville Medical, changes ahead for women’s services will ensure the hospital remains “the number one choice for mothers in the Lowcountry.”
“We want to create an optimal birthing experience for women and are excited to have this opportunity,” Cook said in a press release.
However the project’s purpose goes beyond expansion.
“Our goal is not just consolidating one program into another,” Valentine said. “It’s about creating optimal opportunities for excellent clinical care and providing support for moms and babies during the whole delivery process and care of the newborn.”
Another change will occur once expansion is finished. From that point on Summerville Medical will become Trident Health’s primary site for area births, although if necessary emergency births could still take place at Trident Medical. That hospital will still have the staff and equipment in place to care for those scenarios.
Several Trident Medical staff members who currently serve women’s and children’s services will also transfer over to Summerville Medical. Depending on area growth, another 50-60 new jobs will also be added to the hospital over the next five years, Valentine said.
But consolidating and expanding services for women and children specifically at Summerville Medical has nothing to do with “deficiencies” at Trident Medical.
“Combining these programs into one provides the opportunity to build a brand new state-of-the-art facility and leverage the clinical expertise of each program,” Holly said.
Earlier this year Summerville Medical also added services for high-risk pregnancies, and Trident Medical celebrated achieving status as a level II trauma center.
Summerville Medical has been an integral part of the community for 20-plus years. Trident Health has been around for more than 40 years, Valentine said.