More than 300 community members and elected officials gathered to break ground for a new $331 million Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak, Maryland.
The hospital, scheduled to open in early 2019, will replace an aging facility built in 1907 just 6 miles (10 kilometers) away in Takoma Park.
“Today we break new ground, expanding our more than 100-year commitment to the community,” said Terry Forde, president and CEO of Adventist HealthCare, the hospital’s parent company.
“Our Takoma Park site has always been, and continues to be, a place of healing, renewal, discovery and compassionate care — a legacy we will continue in our future,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony on March 7. “The new hospital expands on those key values.”
Washington Adventist Hospital will move its acute-care operations to the newly constructed 170-bed hospital while retaining its current location in Takoma Park to provide other healthcare services, including a 39-bed psychiatric unit, 40 inpatient behavioral health beds, and inpatient rehabilitation. Some of the vacated space is expected to be leased to Takoma Park-based Washington Adventist University.
The new hospital, located adjacent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s headquarters and about half a mile (1 kilometer) east of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters, is at the center of the White Oak Science Gateway, a developing life sciences community bringing together medical researchers, businesses, and retailers.
The Maryland Health Care Commission granted long-sought approval on Dec. 17 for the hospital to develop the facility on a 48-acre (19.5-hectare) wooded area at Plum Orchard Drive and Cherry Hill Road.
Local leaders praised the hospital project as a way to pump new life into the economy of Montgomery County, the region of Maryland where it is located.
“The groundbreaking for the hospital is another great milestone in the rejuvenation of the eastern part of our county. It will create thousands of jobs while the hospital is being built and after it begins operations,” said Ike Leggett, Montgomery County executive. “It will also inject more than $800 million into the state’s economy in construction alone, with most of that going to our local jurisdictions.”
The hospital will create nearly 7,500 jobs between construction and hospital operations, according to an analysis by Stephen Fuller, director for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Virginia.
“By bringing federal, state, local, and private-sector resources together, we can expand access to high-quality healthcare in our community and bring more jobs and economic opportunities to Maryland,” said U.S. Representative John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland, who attended the groundbreaking.
Community leaders and supporters donned hard hats and grabbed shovels to take part in the ceremonial groundbreaking.
“As we sink our shovels into new ground this morning, we are officially kicking off the construction for Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak,” said Erik Wangsness, president of Washington Adventist Hospital. “I would like to thank our employees and physicians who are enthusiastic about our future and committed to our mission. I also thank our elected officials and other community leaders and supporters. This is a blessed time in our 108-year history.”