First steel beams in place at Riverside Smithfield Hospital

Published 4:43 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

Progress on the 50-bed Riverside Smithfield Hospital slated to open in 2026 is starting to become apparent from the street.

Construction crews recently began erecting the three-story, 200,000-square-foot building’s steel framework. Hospital President Jessica Macalino, in a Feb. 26 Zoom call with The Smithfield Times, said the estimated $100 million investment by Riverside Health Systems in Isle of Wight County is proceeding on schedule and on budget.

“The weather has been really good to us,” she said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Times meets with Riverside officials quarterly to provide updates on the hospital’s construction.

The area of the hospital now framed out in steel will eventually house the hospital’s emergency room on its first floor and operating rooms on its second. Due to the building’s size, the pouring of the hospital’s foundation and erection of steel framing is being completed in phases.

All steel columns should be in place by mid-June, Macalino said.

Plans for the hospital call for 34 medical-surgical beds, 10 intensive care unit beds, six obstetric beds, general and intermediate-level neonatal intensive care unit services, four general purpose operating rooms and CT and MRI scanners.

The hospital broke ground last fall with crews largely focusing on sediment and erosion control measures and the installation of perimeter fencing.

Macalino, in a January update, said project teams were working on reviewing and selecting state-of-the-art technology and equipment to serve our community.”

The technology installed at Riverside Smithfield will largely accomplish many of the same functions as what’s already in use at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, but will be more up-to-date, Macalino said.

“Technology in health care is always evolving and has always been a key piece of the design process,” she said.

Macalino said she’s still mapping out the recruitment timeline, but expects to begin hiring the hospital’s most senior positions in the next month or two. The hospital will continue hiring throughout the next 12 to 18 months.

Macalino said Riverside will have a core group of hospitalists who will work primarily out of the Smithfield campus.

“We absolutely would welcome local physicians to join our medical staff,” Macalino said, noting this would entail doctors applying to Riverside’s medical staff office for privileges.

At the hospital’s July groundbreaking ceremony, Riverside announced former Smithfield Foods Chairman Joseph Luter III and his wife, Karin, had made a contribution to the Riverside Foundation for the construction of a detached medical office building that would be located adjacent to the hospital on the nearly 30-acre campus. According to Macalino, the detached building received its building permit from the county last week and should be breaking ground in the next few weeks. It’s slated to open in early 2025, one year ahead of the hospital.

A heavily branded covered fence around the hospital site, which some have called unsightly, exists to block some of the construction activity from view from the road.

“Our goal is to move through construction as quickly as possible,” Macalino said.