Hillsborough hospital construction breaks new ground

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UNC Hospitals recently opened a new building on its 40-acre Hillsborough medical campus.

Hillsborough residents can now cut time and miles out of their visits to UNC Health Care facilities.

UNC Hospitals has completed the first phase of construction on its new Hillsborough campus, located at 460 Waterstone Drive.

The first part of the development to be finished is a 60,000-square-foot medical office building, which began treating patients Monday. Crews first broke ground at the site on April 20, 2011.

The facility’s central utility area is also complete, including water boilers and chillers, cooling towers and the campus’ mechanical and electrical infrastructure located on 15,000 square feet.

The hospital’s estimated staff of about 500 people will include employees shifted in three phases from other UNC Hospitals locations.

Positions specific to the Hillsborough location will also be created, said Ray Lafrenaye, vice president of facility planning and development at UNC Hospitals.

Construction of the 40-acre development will cost more than $200 million, and the final facilities will include 68 patient rooms, kitchen and cafeteria facilities, several operating rooms, intensive care units, radiology units and an emergency department, said Ben Huffman, the hospital’s project manager with the construction group Skanska U.S.A. Building Inc.

The campus’ remaining facilities will be built in two phases, starting with the diagnostic and treatment center and finally the patient housing facilities.

The entire facility, located near Interstates 40 and 85 and N.C. Highway 86, is projected to be operational by July 2015, Lafrenaye said.

“The folks in Hillsborough have been very accommodating to building the hospital there,” Lafrenaye said. “They have been very helpful, very participatory in the building of the hospital, and it’s been a great relationship with the town of Hillsborough.”

Hillsborough Town Manager Eric Peterson said town residents are excited about the new facility, which will be the largest medical center in town.

“To have world-class health care right here in the town of Hillsborough is just a great amenity for everybody in the community,” Peterson said. “The new hospital is going to be an economic engine.”

Despite the two remaining years of development, Peterson said Hillsborough has already begun to benefit economically from the project. He said the future will bring more jobs to the area, both through the facility itself and in businesses that will grow up around it.

He said he expected businesses catering to patients and their families, such as restaurants and hotels, to develop as the hospital grows.

“As the hospital goes up and other businesses go up in Waterstone, that is just going to help the other businesses and it will circulate more dollars throughout Hillsborough and Orange County,” he said.

“We think (the hospital) is going to drive a lot of the type of new development and growth that the businesses and the citizens have wanted in Hillsborough.”

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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