Sheltering Arms and VCU Health received approval Tuesday from Virginia’s chief health official for the joint construction of a 114-bed, $119 million rehabilitation hospital in Goochland County.

The two health systems announced their intentions to construct the hospital in October on a 25-acre site in the West Creek Medical Park off Broad Street Road, just east of the state Route 288 interchange. They submitted an application for a certificate of public need shortly thereafter.

Mary Zweifel, Sheltering Arms’ CEO, said the next step is finalizing the design and nailing down a contractor. The groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall.

“We have a team from VCU and Sheltering Arms … sitting on this selection committee and looking at the various different components,” she said. “We’re trying to get that selection made so we can begin working on a final plan for the hospital.”

The state process went faster than anticipated, she added. A decision on the certificate of public need wasn’t expected until mid- to late spring.

At a public hearing in February, Zweifel said about 50 community members appeared to speak in favor of the proposed hospital, including physicians, along with patients and their family members.

“We were thrilled,” she said. “They were very supportive.”

The hospital — dubbed Sheltering Arms Rehab Institute-A Joint Venture With VCU Health System — is expected to open in 2020. It will provide inpatient rehabilitation for those who have undergone strokes, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, as well as people in need of general rehabilitation or those with various neurological diseases and disorders.

In embarking on the venture, VCU Health and Sheltering Arms agreed to consolidate several of their locations, including Sheltering Arms’ two hospitals — one at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hanover County and the other at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian — and VCU Health’s rehab hospital at 1300 E. Marshall St. in downtown Richmond.

Sheltering Arms leases its Midlothian space and owns its Hanover facility. Zweifel said the health system has yet to decide what will become of the Hanover location. The two Sheltering Arms locations have a total of 68 beds while VCU Health’s rehab hospital has 46, for a total of 114 beds to be combined into one location in Goochland.

By KATIE DEMERIA Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Twitter: @katiedemeria