Sentara to build new 110 bed hospital in Elizabeth City

Rendering of the new Sentara Albemarle Medical Center campus. [image courtesy Sentara]

Sentara Healthcare and Pasquotank County announced plans Monday for Sentara to build a replacement hospital for the 60-year-old Sentara Albemarle Medical Center at a new site in Elizabeth City.

Sentara will apply to the North Carolina Department of Health for a Certificate of Need to build a 110-bed hospital on land Sentara owns near the Tanglewood shopping district.

At the same time, Sentara and the county announced settlement plan for Sentara’s 30-year lease on the current county-owned hospital.

Sentara took over operation of Albemarle Hospital in March 2014 after winning a public bidding process.

The new hospital, to be owned by Sentara, will be built on a 135-acre site bordered by Halstead Boulevard Extended and Thunder Road in Elizabeth City, which Sentara purchased in October 2017.

The site will include the new 110 bed hospital and two medical office buildings housing a radiation oncology and cancer care center and other outpatient services.

The replacement hospital, designed by Innovate Architecture of Norfolk, will be right-sized from the current oversized, out-of-date facility and will feature a modern, high-efficiency, patient-centric layout.

Additionally, Sentara will lease three acres on the site to Pasquotank County for a new headquarters for Pasquotank-Camden EMS, replacing the undersized, outdated facility located between the hospital and the College of the Albemarle campus.

“This is an exciting next step for Sentara and the county,” says Jeff Dixon, Chair of the Pasquotank County Commissioners. “The current hospital is more than 60 years old and Sentara is in the best position to build a new, high-tech hospital to serve our region for decades to come.”

As part of the lease settlement, Sentara will place $38 million in an escrow account for five years until the new hospital is open and operating. The agreement includes a provision to revert to the original lease arrangement on the old hospital if the state were to deny Sentara a CON, or the hospital was not built for any other reason.

After the move to the new hospital and completion of the settlement, the county will retain ownership of the current hospital site on North Road Street.

The Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners will consider options for redevelopment of the existing hospital site which could include a public/private partnership to spur development along the Road Street Corridor.

“The existing hospital site will present an excellent redevelopment opportunity for the location of a mixed use, waterfront development,” says Sparty Hammett, County Manager of Pasquotank County. “The property’s size and location along North Road Street provides a unique opportunity to revitalize the northern entryway into Elizabeth City.”

“We need to replace the current hospital with a modern one built for the future of healthcare in northeastern North Carolina,” says Dr. Phillip Jackson, President of Sentara Albemarle Medical Center. “We have invested heavily in the facility and services, but it is time to write the next chapter in the hospital’s proud history of service to this community.

“We are positioning this new campus as a regional destination for inpatient and outpatient services,” adds Jackson. “The location will be along the rapidly growing Halstead Boulevard Extended corridor and ease access to state-of-the-art healthcare services for patients”

In August, Sentara and Cone Health of Greensboro announced plans for a merger of the two systems that will be completed in mid-2021.

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