When the plans were unveiled for AdventHealth (then Florida Hospital) Wesley Chapel a decade ago, there was no question that Wesley Chapel’s first hospital was much needed in the growing community.

But, Dr. Robert Rosequist, the Chief Medical Officer at AHWC, said he didn’t expect the response the hospital received when it opened its doors for tours a week ahead of its Oct. 1, 2012, official opening.

“We thought maybe 1,000 people might come, but 8,000 showed up,” says Dr. Rosequist. To accommodate everyone, partly due to an elevator that could only take up 20 people at a time, the tours lasted from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Some people waited in line for more than an hour.

Dr. Rosequist thought he’d be home in time for the Tampa Bay Bucs Monday Night Football game against the St. Louis Rams that night. But, when his wife called asking where he was, he told her he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to make it.

Ten years later, Dr. Rosequist, who is still the hospital’s chief medical officer, says that day was just the beginning of something special. “It has been a wonderful experience,” Dr. Rosequist says. “The 10 years have just flown by.”

Thousands lined up for hours for the chance to tour the newly opened Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, now AdventHealth Wesley Chapel. (Neighborhood News files)

AHWC may not have been the first large business in Wesley Chapel, but you could argue that, to date, it has made the most impact. 

Although the Porter family also has seen the development of a college, a major indoor athletic complex and a mall in its Wiregrass Ranch Development of Regional Impact, developer JD Porter always points to the hospital when asked what his family’s greatest contribution to the area has been. Built on the very land Porter grew up on, with contributions from Tom Dempsey at Saddlebrook Resort and many others, AHWC gave the local community a place to go for medical (including emergency medical) services and has proven to be an anchor for the community.

“I think we were really the catalyst for the growth here in Wesley Chapel,” says Connie Bladon, the director of community outreach for AHWC. “When you think back to when we built the hospital, there wasn’t much around us. When the hospital went in, everyone felt more comfortable moving into the area. You always want a good hospital, (as well as) good schools, safety and security, things like that. Having the hospital here catapulted the growth of Wesley Chapel. Everything (else has) sprung up around us.”

Dr. Robert B Rosequist

Dr. Rosequist feels that the hospital has achieved many of its goals, especially those established when it changed over from Florida Hospital to AdventHealth Wesley Chapel on Jan. 2, 2019. He says that when the change was made, AHWC’s management came up with four main things that people wanted in their medical care: to feel safe, to feel loved, that doctors were accountable for their care and for it to be as easy as possible to get that care.

“If you can do those four things,” Rosequist says, “everybody is going to love you.”

In 10 years, the hospital definitely has made its mark, not just by marketing its name on facilities like the Center Ice skating rink complex and the indoor basketball arena at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County (both off of S.R. 56), but with medical services that have been lauded nationwide.

 Since opening, the hospital has invested more than a total of $400 million in expansion and additional services to provide its award-winning care to more than 800,000 patients. To name a few, AHWC doctors have performed more than 56,000 surgeries and delivered more than 5,000 babies.

 A few months after opening, the doors swung open in early 2013 to the hospital’s popular 100,000-sq.-ft. health & wellness center, which is now called the AdventHealth Wellness Plaza Wesley Chapel.

 There’s more to come, too. AHWC was designed for growth to accompany the incoming (and still ongoing) Wesley Chapel housing boom. Rosequist, who was on the planning board, said its familiar U-shape was designed to look like the open arms of Jesus, with the intention of having six stories on each of the three wings — north, central and south.

 Originally, it opened with just three stories and 83 total beds, because AdventHealth management wasn’t sure how fast the hospital would grow. It turned out to be very fast, indeed. 

 Including a major expansion in 2016, AHWC has grown from 83 beds to 169, from four operating rooms to 12, and from 20 emergency room beds to 35. There is still room for the hospital to expand to 300 total beds.

 AdventHealth also has added the Central Pasco Free Standing Emergency Department into the Lutz community and two medical office buildings adjacent to the hospital, the Wellness Plaza and, in 2021, when AHWC teamed up with the Moffitt Cancer Center on a new three-story, 100,000-sq.-ft. outpatient cancer and research center.

 AHWC was named as one of Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals and the team delivered more than 100 babies in August 2022 alone, a new record for the facility.

 The hospital has also achieved 14 consecutive Leapfrog ‘A’ grades, the only rating system focused exclusively on hospital safety.

 And, when it comes to community partnerships, AHWC is all in, having provided more than $307 million in community benefit services.

 The hospital helped usher the community through the Covid-19 pandemic, and the community responded by providing meals for overworked doctors and nurses during the most desperate months of the pandemic.

 “Being the first hospital out here was just gratifying, being a part of that,” Dr. Rosequist says. “I’m just so glad the community dug in with us and helped and watched us grow.”

For more information about AdventHealth Wesley Chapel (2600 BBD Blvd.), call (813) 929-5000 or visit AdventHealth.com.

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