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Novant Unveils Capital Project Expansion Plans

By Scott Nunn, posted Jan 21, 2022
Novant Health has detailed its capital expansion plans as part of its $1.5 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. (File photo)
Nearly a year after New Hanover Regional Medical Center became part of Novant Health, officials Friday announced several major new capital projects and firmed up plans for some already underway.
 
The new facilities are part of Novant’s requirement to invest more than $3 billion in “growing and advancing NHRMC’s services in the area,” a stipulation of its nearly $2 billion purchase of NHRMC from New Hanover County, which closed Feb. 1, 2021.
 
Shelbourn Stevens, president of NHRMC and the Novant Health Coastal region, said an architect and design firm have been chosen for the biggest project, a 66-bed hospital in Scotts Hill, located in the fast-growing area of northern New Hanover County and southern Pender County.
 
The services now provided at the NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital on Wrightsville Avenue will move to the Scotts Hill hospital, Stevens said.
 
“It will have an orthopedic focus, but it will be a community hospital, as well, taking care of other needs for that community,” Stevens said. 
 
He said the architect and designers are meeting with the NHRMC team to determine how to best meet the needs of patients, providers and other staff members.
 
“We’re hoping to break ground this spring or summer with an opening toward the end of 2024,” Stevens said.
 
He added that the hospital’s rebranding is underway, and residents will soon see the Novant logo at NHRMC locations.
 
After damage by Hurricane Florence in 2018 caused a setback in construction, the new patient tower on the NHRMC main campus on 17th Street will serve as the 108-bed Neurosciences Institute.
 
“It's going to bring a brand-new neuro ICU as well as a dedicated stroke unit to the region that we haven't had before,” said Laurie Whalin, president and chief operating officer of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, who is playing a role in expanding neuro services in the health system’s Coastal market.
 
“The goal is really to serve a seven-county area of patients to make sure they don't have to leave the region to go to either Duke or Raleigh or somewhere else,” she said. “We can keep them right here and they can get the treatment they need.”
 
Elsewhere, Philip Brown, chief community impact officer with Novant, is leading the effort to find a location for a community clinic, one of two funded by a $10 million donation from retired NBA and UNC basketball star Michael Jordan, who grew up in Wilmington. Jordan has funded similar Novant clinics in Charlotte.
 
One will be at 15th and Greenfield streets on land donated by New Hanover County. 
 
“We are undergoing due diligence in purchasing land for the second location, also in Wilmington,” NHRMC spokesperson Julian March said.
 
Although Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia was not part of the purchase – Novant already owned the hospital – it is now part of Novant Coastal and closely linked with NHRMC.
 
Whalin joined with Stevens Friday to announce expansions to Novant’s services in Brunswick.
 
“We have two medical office buildings that we’re expanding,” Whalin said. “One of them is on our campus, and we plan to have a groundbreaking sometime in February. That is going to be a 35,000-square-foot medical office building that is sort of parallel to the current medical office building we have, so it will be very accessible to the main campus.”
 
Whalin said it will house Brunswick Medical Center’s expanded heart and vascular services. 
 
“It's going to have a state-of-the-art cardiac rehab, and we are going to be able to expand our orthopedic as well as surgical services in that suite,” she said. “That is also going to allow us to expand our urology and OBGYN services in our other medical office buildings.”
 
Whalin also announced Novant is building a 30,000-square-foot medical office building in Shallotte that will serve as a multi-specialty-medical office building.
 
“That’s right by Novant Health Oceanside, which is one of the busiest primary-care centers in all of Novant Health. It will offer neurological, psychiatric and endocrine care and will facilitate an expansion for outpatient physical therapy,” she said. “It’s gonna have a sort of open-green-gym concept for physical therapy services there as well as neurology and potentially even partnering to bring some neurosurgery services down to the area.”
 
As part of the purchase agreement, Novant also will expand NHRMC’s relationship with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine, expand a children’s clinical service-line partnership with UNC Children’s Hospital, and develop research clinical trials and population health studies programs.
 
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