Beaufort News

Planned Bluffton Outpatient Center undergoes town review

The town of Bluffton's staff reviewed Hilton Head Hospital's planned $18 million outpatient center on U.S. 278 on Tuesday, one of the last steps before the development can get a building permit.

The 80,000-square-foot Bluffton Outpatient Center is planned for 75 Baylor Drive in a vacant lot between The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette building and a Bank of America branch near the Publix shopping center.

Bluffton's Development Review Committee commented on access, parking, stormwater runoff and other issues during a meeting with project manager Ryan Smith of Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. Those details must be addressed before staff can recommend approval for a building permit, according to planner Danny Wilson. The project will not be reviewed by any other town boards or commissions, he said.

The center also awaits a certificate of need from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Presnell said. DHEC assesses demand for medical facilities to prevent an oversupply of them in an area.

DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick said Oct. 24 is the earliest a decision could be made on the certificate of need.

Construction should begin in the first quarter of 2012and be finished by the end of the year, Presnell said. Florida-based developer Rendina Cos. will oversee construction. Tenet Healthcare, the hospital's parent company, will pay for the project.

The center will provide a central location for comprehensive diagnostic imaging; a breast health center; adult and pediatric physical, speech and occupational therapies; and cardio-pulmonary, lab and primary-care services, the hospital said.

Hospital president and CEO Mark T. O'Neil has called it a "one-stop" medical center.

Some services provided at other Tenet facilities in southern Beaufort County would relocate to the new building, including wound-care services at Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville and various clinics. The Bluffton-Okatie Outpatient Center near Sun City Hilton Head would remain open.

The two-story building would also have offices available for lease to primary-care and specialty physicians.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at

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Hilton Head Hospital plans $18 million expansion in Bluffton, April 19, 2011