1st building opens at WFU Baptist plaza

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

By Jim Buice
The Clemmons Courier

Mike Esposito, director of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s new Clemmons campus, calls the sprawling facility at the intersection of Lewisville-Clemmons and Peace Haven roads “like a hospital without beds in a sense.”
Certainly, it provides a location with easy access for patients with a wide variety of needs in the Clemmons area, including western Forsyth and eastern Davie counties, to come for their medical needs.
“It’s certainly a new concept for Wake Forest Baptist Health,” Esposito said. “Historically, we’ve had a main campus, and everyone has gone to the main campus to see their physicians. Now what we’re trying to do is put more emphasis on making it more convenient, easier access for our patients, with free parking, no parking decks, all those kinds of things. In simple terms, we’re bringing that world-class health care quality to the suburbs, to the people.”
Parts of the first of the two 45,000-square-foot buildings, Plaza 2311 (closest to the intersection) officially opened on Monday, following a media tour last Wednesday. Services available on the opening day included the lab on the first floor, internal medicine and allergy on the second floor, and pediatric care on the third floor (including general and specialty services along with dentistry).
A pharmacy, hematology and oncology, and convenient care (with eight examination rooms and two triage rooms) will be completed and open during the summer.
Plaza 2341 (the building next door) also will open over the next few months and includes a spine center; women’s center; audiology; ear, nose and throat services; facial plastic surgery; rehabilitation services; sports medicine; and vein services.
A separate 12,000-square-foot surgery center on the back side of the property will follow and is projected to open in 2014.
Esposito said that this complex, with many different specialty areas in one location, is a growing trend in the business.
“More of this kind of stuff is going on where perhaps this department did this function and this department did this function, and now we’re putting it all into one center and make that the destination or the center of excellence,” he said. “The spine center is a great example where you’ve got what used to be segmented areas of service. All of them did their job very well. And we’re saying, hey, let’s roll it together and make it that much better.”
The pediatrics area, which makes up the third floor of Plaza 2311, includes colorful aquatic murals in a kid-friendly atmosphere.
There will be four physicians in the general practice of the Brenner Children’s Hospital pediatric office, and they were making last-minute preparations last week.
“There are not many physicians who get to move into a new facility,” said Dr. Mary Evelyn O’Neil. “We have access to other pediatrics (in the specialty area), so it will be nice that patients can come here to this building instead of having navigate going to the hospital to see some of their subspecialists.”
Dr. Michelle Linkous agreed that the new facility will make things easier for the patients.
“I’m excited about being able to hopefully not have to send patients anywhere else,” she said. “Now if your patient needs an X-ray, we usually use the outpatient imaging at Baptist. Now we can say, go downstairs, and they’ll take your X-ray. Plus we have pediatric dentistry, which will be very nice as well.”
Esposito said that there would be about 100 employees in the two new buildings once all the areas are completed. He added that both buildings should be completely operational by early August with a community open house planned for Aug. 11.