A rendering of the entrance to SMH's new Venice facility.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System marked an important milestone Thursday, breaking ground on its new hospital and 65-acre medical campus in Venice. City officials, community leaders, the elected hospital board, SMH staff, area residents and the new hospital’s design/build team were on hand to celebrate the most significant expansion in the health system’s 94-year history.

Breaking ground on the new Sarasota Memorial Hospital –Venice are, from left, Venice City Council member Bob Daniels, Venice City Manager Ed Lavallee, Venice City Council member Mitzie Fiedler, Venice mayor John Holic, Sarasota County Public Hospital board chair Joe DeVirgilio, Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Venice president Sharon Roush, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System CEO David Verinder, Venice City Council member Jeanette Gates, and Venice Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Kathy Lehner.

The ceremony took place under a tent set up beside the partially cleared site where the new four-story, 350,000-square-foot hospital will be built on the corner of Laurel and Pinebrook roads near Interstate-75. 

“This is truly a landmark occasion,” Sarasota County Public Hospital board chairman Joseph DeVirgilio said during welcoming remarks. “The hospital board has had a longstanding goal of bringing Sarasota Memorial’s high level of care to the south county region. It’s been a long journey, but today is a major step forward in our efforts to ensure that our growing community has convenient access to our five-star medical services.”

Here's an animated look at the new facility: