Lexington Medical Center undergoing rapid growth

The growth in Lexington County is “exponential” and Lexington Medical Center is trying to get ahead of it.

Senior Vice President of Operations Roger Sipe updates local business leaders Tuesday on the progress of construction at Lexington Medical Center. (Photos by Terry Ward)

“We are incredibly busy and we are incredibly full,” said Senior Vice President of Operations Roger Sipe, who updated area business leaders about the hospital at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Tuesday.

The hospital is in the middle of a $400 million expansion plan that will add a 10-floor tower, 545,000 square feet, 175 beds, eight operating rooms, and 20 specially designed nursery beds for new moms and babies. Sipe said that skin-to-skin contact with the mother helps with the health and recovery for infants.

A 950-vehicle parking garage is also being built on the LMC grounds at Sunset Boulevard and Interstate 26 in West Columbia.

Sipe said the parking facility is scheduled to be completed by January 2018 and the tower is expected to be finished by the spring of 2019, according to estimates.

Sipe said LMC sees 375 patients a day and ranges from full to 90 percent capacity.

“We are the third-largest hospital in the state,” Sipe noted. The facility has 3,354 births a year, the second-most in South Carolina. Additionally, there are 218,000 emergency room visits annually to LMC, he said.

Sipe said the hospital employs 6,400 and has a turnover rate of 14 percent, which is a few percentage points below the national average. In a recent tally, he said the hospital had received 55,000 applications for 900 open positions.

Sipe said LMC accounts for $521 million a year in salaries and benefits.

Lexington Medical Center was built in 1971. Driven by “exponential growth,” Sipe said the current building plan LMC is undergoing is one of the largest amounts ever spent on hospital construction in the state.