Lakeland Regional Medical Center is embarking on a two-year building spree.
The independent, non-profit hospital will close on $180 million in tax-exempt bonds Thursday to pay for $297 million in construction over the next two years.
The hospital, located off Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando, will add a new eight-story women and children’s pavilion, expand its emergency department and build an inpatient rehab center. Since 2000, the city of Lakeland’s population has jumped 25 percent, just shy of 100,000 residents.
Lakeland Regional officials said they also are exploring becoming a teaching hospital for up to 250 new medical residencies a year.
In 2012, the hospital announced a high-profile partnership with the medical school at the University of South Florida. That deal, however, has failed to materialize after the departure of former USF Health leader Dr. Stephen Klasko.
Lakeland Regional is the third largest private employer in Lakeland, behind Wal-Mart and Publix.
Check here to see more details of the plans.