Trident Health is set to invest about $24 million to upgrade its emergency care services in Summerville as the population continues to swell in and around Flowertown.
Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday on the expansion project at Summerville Medical Center. It's expected to increase capacity, add about 13,000 square feet of space and enlarge the pharmacy and lab, among other improvements.
The emergency department will remain open.
The expansion will help the Dorchester County hospital improve its pediatric program and increase the number of private patient rooms, said Dr. Preston Wendell, medical director of Trident Health's emergency rooms.
In all, the health system has budgeted $100 million in improvements for Summerville Medical Center, near where young families are moving in and where competing health providers are expanding.
The town of Summerville has slightly more than 50,000 residents, and the population has increased by 18 percent since 2010, according to the Census Bureau. It's also near several large housing developments, such as Nexton, Cane Bay and Carnes Crossroads in neighboring Berkeley County, which greeted more than 6,000 newcomers between July of 2016 and July 2017.
Trident Health is owned by the publicly traded hospital conglomerate HCA Healthcare. It operates two medical centers in the Charleston region and two freestanding emergency departments. About 174,000 patients used its emergency services in last year, with about 70,000 of them coming to the Summerville location.
Other providers also are investing in the area.
The Medical University of South Carolina, is planning to build a new hospital near Summerville. It has said that about 29 percent of its patients travel to its peninsula campus come from North Charleston, Summerville or Moncks Corner.
Roper St. Francis also is investing in Berkeley County, with an October opening planned for its 50-bed hospital in Carnes Crossroads.