by Doug Bennett
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF Health Shands is building a 174-room hotel to provide convenient, high-quality accommodations for visiting outpatients and relatives of hospitalized patients.
Construction of the six-story, 124,000-square-foot UF Health Guest House at the former Rush Lake Motel site, 1410 SW 16th Ave., is under way and is expected to be completed in April 2020. It is located within walking distance or shuttle service of all nearby UF Health hospitals. The guest house will assure that patients’ families and visitors to the academic health center have high-quality accommodations when needed, UF Health officials said.
“The families of patients will soon have a much-needed amenity to make their experience at UF Health hospitals more welcoming. Lodging that is readily available and convenient adds to the patient-care experience by allowing loved ones to be close by during medical treatments,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., interim senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
The site is conveniently located south of the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals and across from the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital.
The facility’s suites will feature a private bedroom, bathroom and seating/lounge area with a contemporary design. As is common with hospital campus-based accommodations, it will be independently operated and managed. The location offers easy access to dining and shopping on Southwest 13th Street and Southwest Archer Road as well as in downtown Gainesville.
The guest house’s accommodations will offer unsurpassed convenience for outpatients and hospital visitors, UF Health officials said.
“A patient’s support system is critical to their well-being. Our on-site lodging can offer relatives and caregivers the comfort of remaining close to their loved ones undergoing medical treatment. This is all part of our mission to provide the best experience for our patients and visitors,” said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands.
The on-site guest lodging is an extension of the hospitality and care that is provided in UF Health hospitals and physician medical practices, said Brad Pollitt, UF Health Shands vice president for facilities development.
“The accommodations and features will be comfortable and convenient for people who live too far away to make the daily drive to Gainesville and need to stay locally for several days,” Pollitt said.
The cost of accommodations will be comparable to similar hotels in the area. Families and outpatients will not need a referral from their health care provider to stay at the guest house. Accommodations will not be available to walk-in guests or recreational visitors.
Construction will cost $32 million and the work is being handled by contractor Barr & Barr and Gainesville-based Walker Architects.