Lee Health in Estero looks to add 100 beds with new tower

Fred Myers spends several months out of the year in Southwest Florida. He’s visiting Estero, where Lee Health is building a massive new healthcare facility to make more room for patients as overcrowding becomes an issue.

“You know, you hear the stories about when things get really busy, that they’ve got patients out in the hallway,” Myers said. “That’s never a good thing.”

Lawrence Antonucci is president and CEO of Lee Health.

“We know that our population is double at age 65 over the rest of the country,” he said. He also adds that they’re working on a project to add a 160-bed hospital tower to the existing campus.

“As we look to the next five, 10, 20 years, we believe that the beds will be needed in that community,” Antonucci said. “And while the project at Coconut Point is well underway, this proposed tower is still in the very beginning steps.”

However, they are still a few years from completion, depending on what the state decides.

The state will review Lee Health’s documents before saying whether or not the tower, which hasn’t even been designed yet, gets built.

Even so, people like Myers are glad to see some initiative.

“I think it’s one of those kinds of things where you don’t really appreciate what you have until you need it,” he said.

And as more people like him move to the area, that need is going to continue.

Lee Health says the application and review process for the new tower could take upwards of 18 months. The facility that is already under construction is expected to open this fall.

Lee Health shared this video of what the facility could look like. More about the construction here.

Reporter:Channing Frampton