Banner Health announced Tuesday that construction on the highly anticipated Banner Ironwood Medical Center in Pinal County will begin in the first quarter of 2008.
The nonprofit company is moving to the area east of Queen Creek to keep pace with the growing population’s need for heath care, Banner spokesman Bill Byron said.
The 80-acre medical campus will be the company’s first hospital in Pinal County.
“Hospitals, and particularly non-profit 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 is badly needed in her district and is pleased Banner is “stepping up to the plate.”
Depending on various population estimates, there are between 50,000 and 70,000 people in the hospital’s planned service area, and by the time the hospital is ready to open in 2010, there will be an even larger population to support the hospital, Byron said.
Banner Ironwood’s first phase will include a four-story, 86-bed patient tower.
Banner plans to open the hospital in early 2010 with 24 beds in the tower, and will expand the availability of beds as the population grows.
Banner officials said the hospital is designed to expand with area growth and community need and could grow to more than 600 beds.
The hospital will also include an emergency room, radiology department and electronic medical records system. Also on the medical campus will be a medical office building for physicians.
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 when it opens and will become one of the largest employers in the county, hospital officials said.
Smith said the economic benefits are great, as the company is bringing in high-paying “head of household 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.