04/11/11 — Medical complex planned for area

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Medical complex planned for area

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 11, 2011 1:46 PM

A new medical office complex has been approved for construction, with Wayne Memorial Hospital preparing to recruit and staff the facility with primary care doctors and psychiatrists.

Early last month, the city council approved the site landscape and building elevation plans for the proposed Windsor Creek Office Park, adjacent to the subdivision by the same name on Wayne Memorial Drive, less than a mile past the hospital.

Glenn Barwick, vice chairman of the Planning Commission and land developer, filed the application for the project.

When plans actually began nearly a year and a half ago, Barwick said it was with the intent of building 60 duplexes and a total of 104 buildings on the property.

"The front of it I reserved for offices. It's been zoned for offices," he said. "It starts back a few hundred feet from the intersection, the paved road that goes back there.

"We're in a deal with the hospital to build a medical office building. On the documents it says 'primary care.'"

More than two-thirds of the 10,500-square-foot building will be dedicated to primary care physicians and one-third to psychiatric care, Barwick said.

"It's like five primary care doctors and three psychiatrists and one or two psychiatric physicians' assistants," he said. "The zoning and annexation has been done. The site and landscaping has been done. We're working on final architects' plans and cost estimates for construction, and we hope, expect, to break ground early in May."

The location will be advantageous, not only for its proximity to the hospital but in anticipation of the new bypass nearby, It will also have a different aesthetic feel than some of the other medical offices in the area, he added.

"We will have walking trails, gazebos, a pond," he said. "We're looking for a different clientele, to make it more of a professional area rather than just buildings, more like a property owner's association with open space, walking trails."

Once begun, construction is expected to take approximately 190 days to complete, Barwick said.

"I wish he'd start today. I need it today," said Tom Bradshaw, vice president of operations at Wayne Memorial Hospital. "I actually have some physicians that are ready to come, but until it's completed, I can't accommodate them."

The hospital has been in negotiations with Barwick for almost a year, Bradshaw said. But the needs have been looming for longer than that.

Part of Bradshaw's job is to anticipate changing medical needs for the community so that necessary recruitment efforts can be put into place. Between doctors retiring, leaving specialty areas or the community, one of the biggest needs to surface is that of primary care physicians.

Another thing that has been lacking, he noted, has been office space. Examination rooms have very specific criteria, he said, so the typical office building would not necessarily be practical.

Before the current property became available, hospital officials were already looking for space for three new psychiatrists recruited to the area to work in Wayne Health Psychiatric Services.

"We had them scattered all around (in different offices)," Bradshaw said. "We wanted to put them all together."

Initially, a 3,000-square-foot space would suffice for the psychiatric practice, he added. But then officials realized that Barwick's 10,500-square-foot space would afford them additional room to incorporate the primary care offices.

"It sounded like something we would be interested in, close to the hospital," he said. "We decided to pull them all together."

Barwick's proposal seemed the most feasible, Bradshaw said, with plans for the hospital to lease the office space.

But it's the promise of providing new physicians for area residents -- particularly ones able to take new patients -- that holds the most appeal, he noted.

"That's exactly what we're trying to address, adding more family care," he said. "And then there's other specialties we could put over there as well -- endocrinology was No. 1 on the list, that and rheumatology.

"We have a relatively large area of diabetes here. Endocrinology are typically the physicians that help address diabetes. There's a significant need for endocrinologists in Wayne County."

It's wonderful to be closing in on plans to expand medical services for area families, Bradshaw said.

"The overall plan, I think it's a good concept and something that's needed in Goldsboro," he said. "It looks like the plan is very nicely thought out, somewhat unique, and I don't think there's anything like it in Goldsboro at all."