Beebe already thinking expansion

Beebe Medical Center has acquired another 12.8 acres in Clarksville to accommodate future expansion of the South Coastal Medical Complex that has not yet been built there. Jeffrey Fried, president and CEO of the medical center, said Lewes-based Beebe purchased the land late this spring.

“We were trying to make sure we have enough property down there to continue to grow and expand. That’s the driving force,” Fried said. “If the community continues to grow down there, we certainly want to be able to meet the needs.”

The 12.8-acre property sits directly behind the nearly 10 acres already slated for the new Beebe facility, along Route 26 in Clarksville. Beebe has proposed a nearly 60,000-square-foot medical complex there.

The complex will house an outpatient laboratory for blood tests and other testing services, physical rehabilitation centers, a pool for aqua therapy, an imaging center and an emergency center similar to the one already operating seasonally on Route 26 in Millville, adjacent to the Food Lion.

The $28.2 million project is meant to consolidate Beebe’s services in the South Coastal area, where it already operates the seasonal emergency center and offers physical rehabilitation and lab services in another office, and to provide medical care to a rapidly-growing area.

A 27,000-square-foot second floor of the proposed complex will allow officials to expand outpatient services and provide room for doctors’ offices in the building. The building will be built to accommodate a third floor and officials could expand that building or attach another wing, Fried said.

The extra space will also help Beebe install a septic system while they await connection to a Sussex County centralized sewer district, which has not yet been extended to that area.

“The most important thing is future growth,” Fried said of the latest property purchase.

Beebe officials do not yet have a firm timeline as to when construction of the new complex or a necessary official fundraising campaign would begin, Fried said Tuesday. This week, officials were still awaiting an artists’ rendering of the proposed building.

Longtime local educator and member of Beebe’s board Jackie Wilson talked excitedly about the prospect of the medical complex and the potential for future expansion this week.

“I’m real excited about it,” Wilson said. “Who knows what we’re going to need in 10, 20 years in this area? It’s really going to be a wonderful place. We feel like we made a good investment.”