Woman's Hospital of Baton Rouge, La., announces plans

Woman's Hospital's planned campus near the corner of Airline Highway and Pecue Lane will feature a 300-bed hospital, a 260,000-square-foot medical office building and 69,105 square feet of support services facilities.

Woman's recently filed a site plan application with the city-parish Planning Commission for the project, which will cost an estimated $299 million. Woman's new campus will be discussed at the March 24 Planning Commission meeting.

Woman's will use some combination of borrowing and its own funds to finance the project, Woman's spokeswoman Jodi Conachen said Friday. The hospital has not finalized its construction plans but should have a better handle on that in the next month or so.

Once Woman's has the final construction plans and budget, the hospital will be able to finalize its financing arrangements, she said.

"It is important to note that the site plan application is just the next logical step in our project planning process - it is not a decision to start construction" Stan Shelton, senior vice president of New Campus Development, said in a news release. "We have some work yet to do before that decision can be made."

The project architects are HKS Inc. from Dallas in association with Ford Dickinson AAC of Baton Rouge.

Conachen said Woman's hopes to break ground on the new campus by May or June. The new hospital is expected to open in 2011.

Woman's current facility will remain in full operation for the next two years. Briarwood Golf Course, the site of the new facility, will remain open until the new hospital's groundbreaking. The golf course is expected to continue operating as a nine-hole course for some period thereafter.

The hospital has not decided what it will do with its existing location, but Woman's Hospital officials say they will discuss opportunities with any interested parties.

Woman's Hospital opened in 1968, the same year as Earl K. Long Medical Center. Woman's delivers more than 8,300 babies and performs more than 7,600 surgeries each year.