GARNER — The WakeMed Garner Healthplex broke ground in September, and less than a year later the 50,000-square-foot facility on a 20-acre site just off of U.S. 70 will be ready to open its doors to patients in August.
“The state is currently performing inspections on the facility, and it will be ready to open to patients on Aug. 19,” said Carolyn Knaup, vice president of WakeMed’s ambulatory services.
The free-standing emergency department is expected to serve 12,000 to 15,000 patients in its first year and 27,000 patients by its 10th year.
The facility has a 10-bed emergency department and two triage rooms, where the severity of a patient’s condition is determined. The Healthplex will also include lab and imaging services and physician offices for primary-care doctors and specialists, including cardiologists.
It will also serve as the base for WakeMed’s medical helicopter operations.
Total construction for the facility cost about $18 million.
“Everything is done exactly as we do at the Raleigh campus and emergency department, exactly as the Cary campus. The only thing we don’t have is beds for patients to be admitted. That is why we have ambulatory services,” said Karen Weaver, manager of the Garner Healthplex emergency department.
The WakeMed Garner Healthplex was built as a free-standing and full-service emergency department, one of four free-standing facilities in the seven emergency departments of the WakeMed hospital system.
“The concept of free-standing EDs is to bring emergency care closer to where residents live,” Knaup said.
The facility will have 150 full-time-equivalent employees, a combination of new hires and internal transfers from other WakeMed campuses.
“Half the staff lives in and around the Garner area; it is going to have a big community impact,” said Weaver, who has lived in Garner for seven years.
The town originally planned to make road improvements on U.S. 70 in front of the new medical center to ease traffic in the area and near the Interstate 40 interchange in anticipation of a new hotel.
The proposed 180-room hotel was expected to open in 2014, but construction and has not begun, said Rick Mercier, Garner’s public information officer.