Banner Health announced Tuesday construction on the highly anticipated Banner Ironwood Medical Center in Pinal County will begin in the first quarter of 2008.
The nonprofit company is expanding into the area east of Queen Creek to keep pace with its growing population’s heath care needs, Banner spokesman Bill Byron said.
The 80-acre medical campus will be the company’s first Pinal County facility.
“Hospitals, and particularly nonprofit organizations, look at community need,” Byron said. “That’s an area where the population is growing rapidly, and they are going to need these services.”
County Supervisor Sandie Smith said the hospital, at the southwest corner of Combs Road and Ironwood Drive, is badly needed in District 2 and is pleased Banner is “stepping up to the plate.”
Depending on various population estimates, there are currently between 50,000 and 70,000 people in the hospital’s planned service area, and by the time the hospital opens in early 2010, the population supporting it will be larger, Byron said.
Banner Ironwood’s first phase will include a four-story, 86-bed patient tower.
Banner plans to open with 24 beds in the tower, then phase in bed availability as the area’s population grows.
Banner officials said facility is designed to parallel area growth and community need and could eventually have more than 600 beds.
The hospital will also include an emergency room, radiology department and an electronic medical records system. An office building for physicians also will be on the medical campus.
The second phase will include additional on-campus medical office buildings, retail, and outpatient health and wellness services, according to the company’s Web site.
Banner Ironwood could employ as many as 300 people at opening and will become one of the largest employers in the county, hospital officials said.
Smith said the economic benefits are great, as the company will be filling high-paying jobs.
“They will have a range of jobs, but they will also be targeting head-of-household jobs, and for economic development, that’s a big goal,” Smith said.