Residents express concerns over proposed Conway Medical hospital in Carolina Forest

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CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — Residents in the Carolina Forest area urged strongly against the building of a new Conway Medical Center Hospital along International Drive at a public meeting.

“You don’t live there. You won’t have a hospital in your backyard,” said Richard McAndrew, a resident in The Farm neighborhood.

Residents expressed concerns about noise, traffic, controlled burns, and flooding at a community meeting held by Horry County Planning and Zoning.

The proposed $160 million hospital would go along International Drive near the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

“DNR already works to manage this area as well as the Horry County mitigation bank by controlled prescribed burns. Has anyone contemplated how that works in with a hospital?” said one community member.

From previous reporting’s, Conway Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer Bret Barr said, “we also designed it to have a fire barrier as a second layer of protection for any burn concerns and then the infiltration system for the hospital is copied after hospitals that have been in California because of all the wildfires.”

The parcel of land has a significant amount of wetlands on it and it’s surrounded by wetlands and the wetland mitigation bank. Residents said they don’t want the hospital to cause more flooding for their homes.

“My biggest concern as well as my neighbors is that you left no buffer in this redevelopment agreement for your constituents that vote,” said Daniel Flaherty, a resident in The Farm neighborhood.

Barr said they intend to use high tech paving material in the parking lots to absorb water and increase the runoff capacity by 20 percent.

Barr said the area needs more hospitals. “Horry County has been the second fastest growing MSA in the entire country for the last 3 years so a lot of the growth has been concentrated in this portion of the county.”

The new hospital would have 50 beds and would offer a full range of services, including women’s health, surgical, emergency, cancer care, orthopedics, and imaging.

Image from CMC

In addition to the wide array of healthcare services, this new hospital will create more than 250 new jobs.

The new state-of-the-art $160-million facility will have eight labor and delivery rooms, two C-section rooms, six ICU beds, three operating rooms, and a six-bay infusion center.

The beds will be transferred from CMC’s current 210-bed licensed capacity at its main campus in Conway. These beds are currently under-utilized at the main facility, according to CMC, and the transfer will allow the hospital to properly align resources.

DHEC already approved Conway Medical Center’s certificate of need request to build the hospital. Barr said the rezoning request still needs to get approved by the county.

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