SOUTH FORT MYERS — Southwest Florida community and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking Tuesday near the site of the new 128-bed Golisano Children’s Hospital, a $200 million project of the Lee Memorial Health System in Lee County.
About 200 hundred attended.
To date, $82 million has been raised toward a $100 million goal from philanthropy. The total project cost is $200 million.
“Children’s services are massively dependent on philanthropy,” Lee Memorial President Jim Nathan said Tuesday. “These are not small adults. These are very different needs.”
The goal with the expansion for the current 98-bed children’s hospital is keeping more children near home for their medical care, although Lee Memorial has entered into a partnership with Miami Children’s Hospital for when transfers are necessary.
Talks with Miami started 10 months ago, in part because the Southwest Florida population of children isn’t large enough to support some of the specialists like pediatric neurosurgeons and cardiac surgeons, said Kathy Bridge-Liles, administer of Golisano.
“The best thing to do is partner, at least for today,”’she said. “Who knows 10 years from now?”