Bartow Regional Plans $110 Million Expansion

Hospital President Sites Booming Population as Driving Force


On June 4, the BayCare Board of Trustees approved a $110 million plan to expand the hospital from 72 to 90 beds and enhance its emergency, catheterization lab and surgical services departments. 

“I think that’s amazing,” says Bailey Caustic, a Bartow native who was taken to Bartow Regional after suffering a stroke. “I would not have made it to Lakeland, or Tampa, or Winter Haven, so I think it’s really important that Bartow (Medical Center) is expanding, especially since the population is expanding. It will also help in preventative care.” 

The expansion project — designed by Tampa-based HDR Architecture – will be done in phases, according to hospital President Karen Kerr.

According to BMRC, the first step will be the relocation of the medical center’s helipad to make room for the expanded Emergency Department, which will add 27 examination areas and a second floor. 

Other steps in the planned expansion include: 

  • Moving the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the new second floor, going from 6 to 12 beds, and adding a 12-bed ICU step down unit.
  • Adding an additional catheterization lab-interventional radiology suite.
  •  Adding two operating rooms.
  • Adding 11 new post anesthesia care unit bays. 
  • Adding Sterile Processing Department space.
  • Adding space for clinical engineering. 

The project also includes renovations to: Pharmacy, Lab, OR Support, SPD, and Central Plant areas.

Construction for the new additions and expansions is scheduled to begin by the end of this year. 

Kerr says with BRMC being in Polk County, one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States, the need to have additional space to address medical concerns becomes more crucial. 

“This project aligns perfectly with our mission to improve the health of all we serve,” she says. “Our team has been working for months to determine how best to care for our community and we’re excited to move forward.” 

Bartow Mayor Trish Pfeiffer says the commission and city staff are “excited that (BMRC) is expanding” as Polk County’s population continues to rapidly increase. 

Pfeiffer also mentions that BMRC’s campus connects to a new home development that is already selling houses. Another 288 multifamily complex nearby is also in the works. 

Since 2016,  BRMC has been part of the BayCare Health System. Over eight years, Polk County’s population has increased by more than 152,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That population growth prompted an increase from 37,000 emergency visits in 2018 to 40,700 in 2023. BMRC’s growth in service and physical structure was partially necessitated by an increased need for emergency and nonemergency care.

“We’re committed to growing along with our community so we can meet their needs and provide access to high-quality healthcare that’s close to home,” says BayCare Co-Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Guy. “We’re excited that this project will put our patients first, as we always do.” 

Currently, BRMC serves South Lakeland, Bartow, Fort Meade, Mulberry, unincorporated South Polk and northern Hardee County.

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