Lee Memorial board awards contract for new Golisano Children's Hospital

Corey Perrine/Staff
Tom Golisano of Naples smiles as he is thanked after addressing the audience Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at the Atrium of HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla. Hundreds showed up to watch philanthropist, Golisano, be honored after donating $20-million for the new children's hospital in Lee County.  The $91-million expansion involves building a 300,000-square-foot, five-story patient tower with 128 beds. Construction is targeted to begin next year. 'Why? It's the right thing to do,' Golisano said. 'Nothing is more important than our children.'

Photo by COREY PERRINE // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff Tom Golisano of Naples smiles as he is thanked after addressing the audience Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at the Atrium of HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla. Hundreds showed up to watch philanthropist, Golisano, be honored after donating $20-million for the new children's hospital in Lee County. The $91-million expansion involves building a 300,000-square-foot, five-story patient tower with 128 beds. Construction is targeted to begin next year. "Why? It's the right thing to do," Golisano said. "Nothing is more important than our children."

A rendering of the proposed new Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida which will be part of the Lee Memorial Health System.

A rendering of the proposed new Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida which will be part of the Lee Memorial Health System.

— The Lee Memorial Healthcare System board approved an estimated $145 million construction contract Thursday with Skanska & Gates to build the new Golisano Children's Hospital south of Fort Myers.

Skanska/Gates is a joint venture between New York-based Skanska USA Building and Gates Construction of Bonita Springs.

Ultimately, the total project with more parking and other upgrades is expected to boost the final tab to $250 million.

The Lee Memorial board had no questions Thursday for its legal staff about the contract, which was approved 9-0.

The contract initially is for $800,000 for work from now until next year because final design components are pending, Lee Memorial spokeswoman Mary Briggs said.

"There are ongoing meetings this week on the design of the children's hospital," Dave Kistel, Lee Memorial's vice president of facilities, told the board Thursday. "The momentum is building as the design moves forward."

Kistel assured the board that the contract has been well-vetted by numerous attorneys and insurers.

Site work is expected to start next year for the five-story, 300,000-square-foot children's tower adjacent to HealthPark Medical Center off Summerlin Road.

The new children's hospital will have 128 beds and ultimately could have 160 beds. The current children's hospital has 98 beds and serves children from a five-county region.

The children's hospital now admits 5,000 children and handles 40,000 outpatient visits, which is projected to grow to 60,000 outpatient visits by 2013, according to hospital officials.

In late October, Lee Memorial officials announced a donation of $20 million was made by Naples resident B. Thomas Golisano. His gift was first announced in August but anonymously. The $20 million gift must be matched.

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