- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Washington Adventist Hospital announced yesterday plans to relocate from its current site in Takoma Park to a more spacious spot in eastern Montgomery County.

After years of haggling with the Takoma Park community over expanding the 285-bed hospital, Adventist decided to move on and bought land near the Calverton section of Silver Spring. The hospital obtained the land from West Farm Development and PS Business Park for $11 million.

“We need to broaden our access in order to remain a viable hospital in this community,” said Bill Robertson, president and chief executive officer of Adventist HealthCare, which owns the hospital. “The community needs modern health care.”

Adventist opened in 1907, on a 13-acre campus, in what was at the time a nonresidential area. But nearly a century later the hospital became tucked tightly inside a burgeoning Takoma Park community.

Eventually, Mr. Robertson said, the location became congested and increasingly difficult to reach.

Attempts by the hospital to build new medical offices and a new parking garage were met with resistance from Takoma Park residents, leading to the decision by the hospital to relocate to the new 48-acre site.

The site is about a mile from the world headquarters of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, with which it is affiliated.

Hospital officials say the new site has room for several medical office buildings, an expanded emergency department, outpatient facilities and a 1,100-space parking garage.

Despite the planned relocation, Adventist President Jere Stocks said the hospital will continue to purchase new medical equipment for the hospital at its current site.

Mr. Robertson said the hospital plans to work with Takoma Park residents on what type of medical services will remain at the current location.

“We are looking for feedback from the community as to what they want at the facility that are not hospital services,” he said.

It has not been decided how the current location will be used. But whether it becomes physicians’ offices or a location for outpatient services, it will remain a site that serves the community in a nonprofit role, Mr. Robertson added.

The current hospital won’t close until the new location is ready to open, said Mr. Robertson, adding that it could take four to five years.

Washington Adventist Hospital had 90,000 patients last year, 41 percent from Prince George’s County and 41 percent from Montgomery County. An additional 6 percent come from the District and about 2 percent were from Anne Arundel County.

The new location, like the old one, is near the Prince George’s County border.

Mr. Robertson said that while other hospitals in Prince George’s County and in the District are failing, Adventist Hospital, which is nonprofit, was $22 million above expenses last year.

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