ABC24 talked with Regional One Health President & CEO Reginald Coopwood, MD about the ONE Campus renovation project to expand and upgrade the hospital’s aging facilities.
ONE Campus would be one of Shelby County’s largest capital projects and would create a state-of-the-art academic medical campus in downtown Memphis.
This report originally aired on ABC24.
Regional One Health President and CEO Dr. Reginald Coopwood shared his vision of the hospital’s upcoming renovation project, which is one of Shelby County’s most expensive capital projects.
“Everything in here will be replaced really in building one, so this building comes down,” Coopwood said.
He said the hospital’s labor and delivery building will be the first step in the rebuilding of the medical center.
“This will allow us to do phase one, which really replaces all the things in our women’s hospital, our L&D (labor and delivery), our NICU,” Coopwood said.
The first of three phases will cost $350 million. Coopwood estimates the project’s total cost will be about $800 million.
“We’re talking about complete building up and tearing down and creating a new campus. It’s about 8-9 years total,” he said.
There are layers to this project. First, Shelby County Government committing to the $350 million over five years.
Commissioners recently passed the $25 wheel tax increase. That increase brings in $15 million per year to go towards construction, an effort Coopwood worked tirelessly on with Mayor Lee Harris.
“This vote, that was a positive vote, followed two negative votes a couple weeks prior when we thought we were in good position, and we didn’t have the votes. So, when we were finally able to pass it, it was overwhelming,” Coopwood said.
Taking the economic impact even further, Harris wrote a letter to Coopwood requesting a commitment to hire diverse businesses for the construction job.
“Number one, he’s got to appoint an executive-level member of his team to respond to minority contracting to oversee the minority contracting portfolio,” Harris said.
“We will create the position. We’ve talked to a few people. I don’t have anyone. I don’t have a grand announcement today, but I think within the next 30 days, we’ll be able to identify that individual that will help.” Coopwood said.
Harris also requested that priority hires for the 600 hourly jobs–paying $25-$30 an hour–will come from Memphis’ underserved areas.
“We’ve identified six of the most impoverished zip codes in the inner city of the city of Memphis, and we’re going to make sure that those folks have the opportunity to get the high paying hourly jobs that are going to come from this 5 to 10-year project,” Harris said.
Dr. Coopwood was all smiles when painting the picture of the final project.
“In this parking lot, that building will come down, it will go all the way to Madison and end it here. Then we’ll take down the Route Center and build building two, right here, and it will all be facing this way,” Coopwood said.
The proposed design pictured is only an idea of what the new buildings could look like.
Architects have not been hired yet, and it is still too early for a timeline on when construction will begin.
Watch the news report on ABC24.