CHARLESTON, S.C. — North the earth to mark the beginning of construction on the new Roper St. Francis Healthcare Data Center. The groundbreaking event was held on the center’s 24-acre site located in North Charleston’s Palmetto Commerce Park.
“With information technology at the forefront of national healthcare discussions the timing of this project is perfect and it is no accident. This data center will provide the muscle behind Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s long-term strategic plan,” said David Dunlap, President and CEO,Roper St. Francis Healthcare. “With electronic medical records becoming fully integrated at our facilities and doctors’ offices, this data center will mean increased capacity for our communications systems which will in turn lead to greater efficiency for the almost 300,000 people we serve annually.”
Speaking at the newly cleared construction siteCharleston officials, healthcare executives and project leaders dug shovels into, John Holloway, Medical Society of South Carolina Project Chairman, said the facility will serve as a safe harbor for the consolidation of approximately 40 tons of equipment that will provide electronic communications to more than 100 RSFH facilities throughout a nine-county area.
“This isn’t just about computer servers and wires, it’s about computerized physician order entry, decision support systems and coding for the administration of medications,” Holloway said. “This is about the work of caring for patients, and in 21st century healthcare that means advanced and highly protected information technology.”
A concrete, tilt-wall construction design, the data center will measure approximately 16,000 square-feet, including the facility’s mechanical yard. Once the center is fully operational RSFH will have significantly expanded capability to support future growth related to technological needs.
The structure has also been designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane (160 MPH winds) and an above-code seismic event, which RSFH Vice President and Chief Information Officer Mike Taylor says will reduce the risk of catastrophic facility failure.
“We chose the Palmetto Commerce Park site because of the utility services available there, the accessibility and the inland location,” said Taylor. “Our equipment will soon be centralized and with redundant operational capability, we will have an increased margin of safety to protect against information technology process disruptions contributing to the long-term health and viability of our enterprise.”
The design-build contractor for the project is Clayco, Inc. Subcontracting services are being provided by 24 companies from the Charleston area and from other cities throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Program Management is being provided by Stantec Consulting Services’ office in North Charleston.
“Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston was determined to be the perfect location for this important Roper St. Francis project,” said North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey. “We are excited to see the construction phase get underway, which is expected to contribute more than $1.5 million to North Charleston’s economy over the next year.”
The RSFH Data Center is expected to be open early summer of 2013 and staffed by 10-15 employees.