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Vanderbilt plans hospital expansion

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A planned expansion at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital would put it among the nation's 20 largest pediatric hospitals.

The hospital said it plans to build a four-story tower at a cost of $84 million. Each floor in the new tower is projected to be 40,000 square feet and one floor would have 36 patient beds. The other floors will have shell space for future use, Vanderbilt officials said in a letter to state officials.

Construction is slated to begin early next year.

Before the project moves forward, it needs approval from the state's Health Services and Development Agency, which will consider the proposal on Jan. 22.

The panel approved a similar expansion plan for the hospital in 2008, but it was put on hold because of the Great Recession.

At the time, the hospital said it planned a nearly 400,000-square-foot expansion project at a cost of $248 million that would have increased the number of beds to more than 400.

After the recession hit, the hospital opted to expand in phases. That began with 33-bed expansion that opened in May 2012.

"It just makes more sense to expand the hospital in phases as needed," said John Howser, Vanderbilt's spokesman.

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