. - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Grand Strand Medical Center is expanding again, with plans to add two more floors to its patient tower.
The fourth floor at the top was finished in October and economics experts said all the new projects speak to more than just the health care industry.
Between May 2015 and March 2016, the patient tower went from two floors to four, and will soon be six floors high.
The City of Myrtle Beach recently approved the most recent plans. It said the hospital is currently using the new fourth floor, and will use the fifth and sixth for temporary storage as patient rooms are added.
Economists say health care is one of the fastest growing industries in the region, and it's part of an overall pattern that shows the population is growing.
Today, the average person has more choices. Expansion also brings more job opportunities. There has been a boom of new grocery stores popping up because more people are moving into the area.
Thus, Dr. Rob Salvino, assistant economics professor at Coastal Carolina University, said the hospital may be fulfilling a future need.
"There is good evidence that health care quality here is certainly on the upswing and it is on a pretty fast steep upslope," said Salvino. "Just in the past couple years there has been a lot of notice."
Salvino added there are two ways to break it down; health care expansion fulfills a need for the population and creates additional jobs.
As a result, it is diversifying a population comprised largely of retirees with more people in the work force.