Cone Health announces $100 million renovation, expansion plans

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Cone Health has announced plans to build a new Women's Hospital and Behavioral Health Hospital over the next five years.

The Cone Health Board of Trustees approved the initial plans Sunday. The hospital is expected to seek state approval for the $100 million project next year.

"We would have had to make very significant investments if we decided to enhance [the hospitals] in place. Rather than make investments in that form, we decided to take a step back and ask ourselves the question, ‘How can we provide the best possible services as cost effectively as possible?’" said Terry Akin, Cone Health president and chief operating officer.

The plans include moving Cone Health Women's Hospital from its current location on Green Valley Road to the Moses Cone Hospital Campus on North Elm Street Hospital officials say the move will make it easier for moms to stay with their babies.

"We have all the services available we need, but sometimes they’re at different hospitals," said Dr. Kelly Leggett, medical director at the Center for Women's Healthcare Faculty Practice.

The new Women's Hospital will have its own entrance and parking area. It will also include an expanded neonatal intensive care unit, so parents will be able to stay with their babies overnight.

However, hospital officials say the goal is for the new facility to feel like the old one.

"It just doesn’t have that medical feeling to it of someone being sick. It’s just a place of happiness and people are really excited to go to the hospital, so we want to keep that," said Dr. Leggett.

Construction on the Women's Hospital is expected to start in 2016. The Behavioral Health Hospital is expected to break ground in 2018, although the location is still to be determined.

Hospital officials say the changes could affect jobs.

"We expect any reductions in jobs to be dealt with over time through retraining and redeployment of staff as well as management to vacancies internally," said Akin.

The whole project is expected to be completed by 2019.

"This really is not about facilities and buildings, it’s about the care we provide," said Akin.

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