People living in Clay County will have another medical option closer to home starting Wednesday.
After a year of construction, the brand new $39 million Baptist Health and Wolfson Children's Emergency Center opened its doors at 7 a.m.
The new facility is off U.S. 17 and Village Square Parkway, which is much closer for people who live in Orange Park, Middleburg and Green Cove Springs. The emergency center will be open 24/7, with care for adults and children.
The state-of-the-art emergency center is 26,000 square feet. It has 16 treatment rooms, including two trauma rooms. It's not a full hospital, but it's the second free-standing emergency room to be built in northeast Florida.
"When we started our planning about a year ago, there were only seven throughout the state. So it's a relatively new trend for the whole state of Florida," said Brad Law, who was in charge of the project.
The fully equipped emergency center has a Life Flight helipad, and a century ambulance will be there 24/7 if a patient needs to be admitted and transferred.
The campus includes Baptist Diagnostic and Imaging, which will provide X-ray and lab services.
It's estimated 14,000 people will use those services in the first year and 12,000 people will utilize the emergency care center.
"It really came at the request of local physicians and community members to bring Baptist Health locally," Law said. "So we've had great reception from EMS, Clay County Fire and Rescue, local physicians and community as well."
Law has been a project lead on this facility. In talking with Clay County residents, he said they'll really get good use of the specialized emergency care for children.
"If you look at the number of pediatrics and number of kids in Clay County and the number of people in Clay County that use Wolfson Children's Hospital for their care, we really wanted to bring that local to them so they don't have to travel outside the county for pediatric care," Law said.
Right next to the emergency care center is a 70,000-square-foot medical office building. The first floor will be a Wolfson Children's Hospital specialty center. Other doctors will occupy the rest of the building.
Physicians will begin moving into that space this summer. In total, the property is 32 acres, the same size as Baptist's downtown campus. So it has the capability to turn into a full hospital one day.