Exceptional Community Hospital is under construction along John Wayne Parkway just south of the railroad overpass. [Ian Roberds]

Maricopa’s booming growth brings lots of things — new stores, more traffic, rising home prices — and soon, two new hospitals for a city that has survived for a century without one.

Texas-based Exceptional Healthcare will open the city’s first hospital in December at the southwest end of the overpass on John Wayne Parkway. The $20 million facility’s initial phase will bring a 24-hour emergency department to the city, eliminating the need for patients to travel 20-plus miles to receive emergency care in Chandler or Casa Grande.

The hospital will be a single story and have 10 private rooms, 10 emergency department rooms and space for radiology. The state-of-the-art facility also will feature a digital-imaging suite including CT Scan, X-Ray, mobile MRI and ultrasound, an in-house lab, and inpatient and outpatient hospital beds for acute admissions and overnight observation of patients.

The operation is expected to create 60 to 100 jobs.

Exceptional Healthcare also will feature a landing area for air ambulances to ensure the fastest possible transfer of patients needing a higher level of care.

Bruce McVeigh, the chief operating officer of Exceptional Healthcare, said his company is excited to be part of the Maricopa community.

“For one thing, we get to build a relationship with the community,” McVeigh said. “We’ve been saying that since the groundbreaking — we are all about the community. We want to make a difference in the lives of people in the community. Clearly, in Maricopa it was an access-to-need problem. Our company is doing the ERs we do so well and putting them in areas where there’s a need.”

Mayor Christian Price said Exceptional Healthcare’s hospital fills a vital need for the city.

“For over a decade now, the City of Maricopa has been working diligently to assist healthcare options to locate here,” Price said. “We are extremely excited to see Exceptional open the city of Maricopa’s first 24/7 ER and hospital. This new facility will provide desperately needed medical services to our ever-increasing population, and we are so very appreciative for their large investment in our city.”

Price said the hospital will be the catalyst for bringing in doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other highly skilled professionals to the city.

“It sends the message that this is a great place to do business,” Price said. “Everywhere you go, people are finding they need more and more health care, and I think we are on the way to having many more options here in town. They will all find their niche. We’ll need all that health care and more, as we continue to grow.”

McVeigh said the initial phase of Exceptional’s campus may not be the final product.
“We’ve got quite a bit of land we purchased at that spot, and we have phase 2 and phase 3 plans at that site that include imaging, medical office space, family practice space for clinical space,” he said. “We’ll see what the market wants over the first six months. Now we can grow with the community.”

If the market wants more, it is going to get it. The city’s appetite for hospitals was underscored in June when S3 BioTech LLC announced before the city’s first hospital was complete, a second was on the way.

S3 BioTech initially bought a 4-acre parcel along Bowlin Road between John Wayne Parkway and North Graythorn Drive, near Copper Sky, for a hospital to be operated by Nutex Healthcare of Houston. In August, S3 BioTech announced plans to more than double its concept with the purchase of 4.7 more acres at the southeast corner of West Bowlin Road and John Wayne Parkway. More info on S3 BioTech here.

The initial plans include a medical campus with a “specialty ER hospital” of at least 100,000 square feet and 25 beds along Bowlin Road. Other services could include an ambulatory surgery center, a catheterization lab, and offices to house additional medical services and physicians’ practices.

City Manager Rick Horst said the developers of the initial parcel came back to the city almost immediately to ask to buy 12 adjoining acres for further expansion of the project.
The expansion is more of a mixed-use development that includes a hotel and condominiums. A conceptual sketch presented to the city council showed a hotel with about 125 beds and a seven-story condominium tower sitting atop a smart parking structure.

S3 BioTech’s initial expansion plans also call for an Innovation Center along the east side of John Wayne Parkway, between La Quinta Inn & Suites and Palo Brea.

In Horst’s presentation to the city council — in which he emphasized that the plans were preliminary and conceptual only — the Nutex hospital and Innovation Center campus could include:

  • Research labs, coworking space and startup office space of about 100,000 square feet.
  • Behavioral health and sports-psychology facility with about 120 beds.
  • Academic classroom, fitness center and multipurpose gymnasium building of about 100,000 square feet.
  • Student/staff housing, auditorium and cafeteria building of about 80,000 square feet.
    A 350-unit, rent-to-own condo/apartment building with a pool.
  • A film production studio integrated with a maker’s shop.

Dr. Ed Johnson, member of the S3 BioTech board of directors, said his group is an ideal fit for Maricopa — and vice versa.

“Maricopa gives us the opportunity to grow with the community, and the types of hospital-related services (S3 BioTech) offers and want to scale seem to fit perfectly with what the city is looking for,” he said.

The timing on the Nutex hospital is a little less clear, but Johnson said it should be underway soon.

“It will be sooner than later,” he said about breaking ground on the new facility. “Because the city is being so helpful, we’re pushing each other in a positive way. But it’s going to be this calendar year. We’re going to turn a shovel as soon as it’s humanly possible.”

One city council member said when it comes to health care and hospitals, more is better.

“Just a year ago having one hospital in the city of Maricopa was a dream,” Councilmember Vincent Manfredi said. “But today, we’re on the verge of having two. I could not be happier with this news.”


This story was first published in the October edition of InMaricopa magazine.