Tidewell, Willis Smith Construction break ground on Lakewood Ranch Hospice House

Representatives from Tidewell Hospice and Willis Smith Construction joined local business and government leaders for a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday, March 3, at the site of the Lakewood Ranch Hospice House.

The hospice house will be at 11535 Rangeland Parkway, just north of the intersection of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70 in the heart of Lakewood Ranch. The new facility represents Tidewell Hospice’s commitment to grow alongside the thriving Lakewood Ranch community, providing unparalleled end-of-life care in the immediate and long-term future.

“Because of all that Lakewood Ranch has to offer, the area is growing at an amazing rate,” Tidewell President and CEO Gerry Radford said. “This new facility represents Tidewell Hospice’s commitment to serving that growth by offering a healthcare facility that the community deserves and needs. In the past year, Tidewell has provided care to close to 500 Lakewood Ranch-area residents. We expect those numbers to only increase … With this new facility, patients will now have care right in the community they live in.”

The 12-bed, 22,000-square-foot facility will be Tidewell’s eighth hospice house and is expected to open in late fall 2017. The outer shell of the building will accommodate the addition of 12 beds in the future. The hospice house will replace a six-bed inpatient unit Tidewell operated inside Lakewood Ranch Medical Center from June 2012 until May 2015. Tidewell’s other hospice houses are in Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton, Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Englewood and Arcadia.

A hospice house provides the setting for nursing staff to maintain control of a patient’s symptoms and manage pain. It also can be a place patients visit while their primary caregivers get a well-earned period of respite.

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who represents Lakewood Ranch, spoke Friday and praised the way Tidewell served three people who were close to her.

“At a time when you’re feeling your most vulnerable,” Baugh said, “and you’re weak and your heart’s hurting, they’re there and they walk you through everything. They hold your hand. They do everything they possibly can to ease what is taking place. … For me, when I sit back and think about Tidewell being here in Lakewood Ranch, in a community that so many of us that are here today are trying to build and make the most wonderful community we could possibly have, I can’t think of a better way than to have Tidewell Hospice here with us.”

Radford thanked construction manager Willis Smith Construction, WBRC Architects and Engineers and Element Commercial Construction for their support in making the project a reality.

Tidewell is currently raising funds for the $5 million facility through the Lakewood Ranch Campaign. Contributions may be made at tidewellatlwr.org or by calling 855-TIDEWELL.


PHOTO CAPTION (left to right): Steve Hall, Tidewell Hospice board member and Lakewood Ranch Campaign Committee Chairman; Gerry Radford, Tidewell Hospice President and CEO; Renee Eppard, Tidewell Hospice board member and major donor; Kirk Boylston, President, Lakewood Ranch Commercial; Michael Uselton, Tidewell Hospice board chairman; Dave Sessions, President, Willis Smith Construction; and Vanessa Baugh, Manatee County Commissioner.