News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Wednesday, April 17, 2013
THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- It was a big day in McDuffie County as University Hospital McDuffie broke ground on its new hospital.
University Hospital bought McDuffie County's hospital back in 2010. Like a lot of small hospitals, McDuffie County's hospital was failing, and the partnership has since brought it back to life.
"So many of us have to go to Augusta to the hospital to University and having it here in the county will be good for our county," said Dorothy Hart, who lives in McDuffie County.
Right now, Hart travels to Augusta twice a week for complications from bypass surgery.
"It will be great to have testing done here," Hart said. "All kinds of diagnostic tests and things that we can get here."
The current hospital was built more than 60 years ago back in 1952. With smaller patient rooms, smaller operating rooms and just older facilities, they say it was time for an update.
"What we're doing is modernizing health care that has a great tradition in Thomson-McDuffie County, we're just making it more modern better and in a much better location," said Kyle Howell, VP of Support and Facilities for University Hospital.
That location, right off I-20 on Washington Road, will make it more convenient for a lot more people.
"The location is just wonderful to serve all of the citizens of McDuffie County without the downtown traffic. Much more accessible to I-20," Howell said.
"The location, it's kind of a clear way and it's easier for people to get here and for emergencies it's gonna be great," Hart said.
That new facility will initially include a 68,000 square foot facility with 25 private rooms, an emergency department with a heliport and updated technology, but it doesn't end there.
"We have to get some more primary care, we have to get some specialty care out here to support this facility into the future so we're not just gonna be building the hospital, we're gonna be growing the care team out here as well," said James Davis, President and CEO of University Healthcare System.
More care options that will save people like Hart a trip to Augusta.
"It's gonna cut off a lot of time and money that I'm spending going to Augusta," she said.
The building will only take up half of the land, leaving room for growth. They will initially have 25 private rooms but are hoping to expand to 100.
It should be up and running by next fall.
As for the old building, they are talking with the Family Y about taking over the building.