PRESUMABLY TO REPLACE EXISTING MISSION CAMPUS
(From The Asheville Citizen-Times)
It’s time for some major changes at Mission Hospital.
Buncombe County’s largest employer is embarking on a major transformation, including consolidation of the Mission and St. Joseph’s campuses, construction of a multistory, $350 million tower and the possible demolition of the St. Joseph’s building.
For the past year and a half, Mission has engaged in a preliminary planning processes, getting feedback from about 500 hospital clinicians, as well as extensive input from patients and their families.
“We also then studied the buildings, and what was very interesting was a couple of things: We have a wonderful legacy of caring for many years, but we have some buildings that are at the ends of their useful lives,” said Jill Hoggard-Green, president of Mission Hospital. “Most buildings and hospitals need to be renovated every 30-35 years, pretty significantly.”
Biltmore Avenue separates the two Mission Hospital campuses, with St. Joseph’s on the east side and Mission on the west. The idea is to move the functions of St. Joseph’s across the street, tear down the former Mountain Area Health Education Center and build a new tower connected to the existing Mission Hospital building via hallways.
If the project proceeded “seamlessly, which a building project never does,” Hoggard-Green said, “I would anticipate three and a half to four years from now we would be walking into the new tower.”
That tower, likely to be located just to the north of the existing Mission Hospital and partly on the MAHEC footprint, would comprise a large operating suite and a new emergency department, as well as more spacious patient rooms.
The fate of St. Joseph’s, which before the Mission-St. Joseph’s merger in 1995 was an independent hospital, is uncertain. Mission leaders and board members will have to decide whether to use the St. Joseph’s facility for other uses, sell it or tear it down.
“If I had to guess, it would most likely be torn down and replaced with something,” said Mission Health CEO and President Ron Paulus, M.D. “We’ve had an initial discussion with the city about some joint planning around what that space would be.”