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First on 12: Local hospital cancels plans for Columbia Co. health facility

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Plans for a $34.6 million ambulatory care center in Columbia County have been canceled.

In 2008, the then-Medical College of Georgia Physicians Practice Group got approval for a state-of-the-art health care facility at the intersection of Knob Hill Farm Road and Washington roads in Evans.

This week, after more than three years in the works, the Board of Directors for the Physicians Practice Group unanimously decided to cancel the project because of the economy.

They say the economy dramatically changed the business model for the 2008 proposal. According to the Chief Financial Officer, the original project was expected to run $23 million, however, by the time construction was set to begin, that price tag had nearly doubled to $44 million.

The plans called for a 65,000 square-foot facility for poor and low-income residents in Columbia County and to expand opportunities for medical students.

In a press release, Physicians Practice Group says: "The Department of Community Health approved the project in September 2008, but construction was delayed by appeals, which were resolved in March 2010."

CEO David Hefner says the group is still working on long-term agreements with other health care partners in and around Columbia County. Right now, the sign along Washington Road will come down and a final decision on the land has yet to be made.

News 12 will have more on this decision on News 12 at 6 o'clock.

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