What can residents expect from Columbia County’s first hospital?

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - From “coming soon” to “finally.” There’s a new sign up off Exit 190 in Grovetown showing off Augusta University Health’s excitement to start building the first full hospital in Columbia County.

It’s been a long time coming but things are officially in motion. AU Health just hired two architecture firms to start the design plans. AU Health tells us it will be a 100-bed facility. We sat down with their CEO about what else we can expect.

If you’re driving off of exit 190 near Walmart you may have noticed AU Health’s new sign that reads: “Finally. A Hospital that Columbia County Deserves.”

“We have great expertise, but we want it to be delivered in a more convenient location particularly to a county that is a populated as Columbia County is and without a hospital, so we really want to take AU care and keep it closer to home,” said Katrina Keefer, CEO of Augusta University Health System.

Keefer says hospital officials have already met with the new architects as well as their urban planner to discuss the design as well as how they will utilize the more than 80 acres.

“Are there farmers markets, or should they bring that to the facility, what green spaces are there, what walking trails are there? How can this support what the community already offers so that we don’t duplicate or replicate, but instead augment what already may be great?” she said.

She says the hospital will meet all of the community’s general medical needs and anticipates a busy emergency department. Keefer says the pandemic has really shaped how this hospital will be built.

“Whether we’re advancing telemedicine, whether we’re needing to change a medical unit to an intensive care unit, whether we need to use our operating pre-holding areas as inpatient units when we’re not doing surgeries. It’s really about the flexibility of the space and making sure we’re prepared for whatever the next COVID may be,” she said.

Keefer says they really want to utilize the landscape to support health and wellness and encourages input from the community.

“If we know what the community requests of us we will know that we are successful when we deliver a project that makes them proud. We want them to own it and feel that it’s their hospital and not feel like someone in Richmond County built something in Columbia County and called it done,” she said.

If you want to meet the architects and give input on what you’d like to see at the hospital your chance is this Saturday. They’ll be out in front of their “finally” sign right off Exit 190 from 4-6 p.m. The goal is to break ground next summer and open doors in 2025.

Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.