New Wolfson Children's Critical Care Tower Coming To Downtown Jacksonville

Feb 11, 2019

Another big expansion is about to begin at Baptist Health’s Southbank campus.

In May, Baptist Health will start construction on a $187 million seven-story tower for critically ill infants and children.

The Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower will include a high-level 75-bed neonatal intensive care unit as well as a 26-bed pediatric intensive care unit.

“This new building will be our new ‘front door,’ essentially reorienting our entire campus,” said Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville Hospital President Michael Mayo in an email to WJCT News. “We intend to create an extraordinary patient and family experience for all who enter.”

It will be linked to the medical center’s new multi-level parking deck by a skybridge over Palm Avenue.

The new neonatal intensive vare unit will provide a 25 percent increase in beds, and the new PICU will increase the current PICU bed count by 30 percent.

The added beds will bring the hospital’s total to 272, making Wolfson Children’s Hospital the second-largest children’s hospital in Florida, according to Baptist Health.

It’s expected to be completed in early 2021.

Services provided at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, JacksonvilleUniversity of Florida Health Jacksonville ;and Emergency Resources Group.

Jacksonville’s medical industy has been expanding rapidly overall. 

The Wolfson announcement follows the completion of the $184 million, 330,000-square-feet Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, which opened in September.

Baptist Health also announced this year it's spending $16 million to renovate its maternity ward at the downtown campus. 

A big building boom has also been underway at the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus where a new treatment center is under construction. It’s being partially funded with a $20 million grant from a South Florida foundation and is part of a larger capital projects expansion that will total about $114 million.

Mayo Clinic leadership said it hopes its Jacksonville expansion will accelerate its participation in Florida’s growing market for medical tourism — which is a term that refers to patients traveling for treatment they can’t get at home.

A 2014 study from nonprofit Florida TaxWatch and state regulators found medical tourists spend more than $5 billion in Florida annually.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.