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Architects hired for new AU Health hospital in Columbia County

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 7:57 AM EDT
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GROVETOWN, Ga. - Plans for Columbia County’s first full hospital are taking a big step forward with the hiring of architecture firms.

The Augusta University Health System board voted Thursday to bring on Washington, D.C.-based SmithGroup and Atlanta-based TVS to design the 100-bed hospital.

Cindy Beckham, with SmithGroup, says the design will incorporate lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a reevaluation of hospital sites, rooms and even parking lots.

The project also will account for expanded use of telemedicine.

The advance comes several months after the end of a legal battle between two health systems over the rights to build the 100-bed hospital in one of Georgia’s fastest-growing counties.

The Georgia Supreme Court denied an appeal from Doctors Hospital, paving the way for Augusta University Health to build.

A full-blown hospital has been in the works for a long time. AU Health bought more than 80 acres right off Exit 190 near Grovetown where a “coming soon” sign has been up for years. Long enough for it to start cracking.

After the Supreme Court settled the legal battle over the summer, AU Health said it would re-evaluate its 2014 plan before continuing forward.

Despite its appeal being denied, Doctors Hospital is not giving up on Columbia County. Officials say while things didn’t go their way, they will be moving forward with building a free-standing emergency room in Evans instead of the hospital.

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