Here’s a look at design plans for new Columbia County hospital

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 7:36 PM EST
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COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s years in the making, but plans are finally underway to build Columbia County’s first-ever hospital.

Here’s a look at the never-before-seen plans. Behind the tree line on Gateway Boulevard, there’s ground for something new.

“Since day one when we met, the folks from AU they’ve been talking about innovation. And how [to] be forward-thinking-- not do what’s been done in the past,” said Cindy Beckham, Smith Group Healthcare Studio Leader.

Plans are very fluid for now, but as it stands AU will have plenty of land and open space surrounding the building.

“With the changing healthcare demands and population community demands over the next 5, 10, 50 years, we’re planning for the long term, not the short term,” said Beckham.

They’ll be leaving a lot of room on the property, so they have room to grow, for decades to come.

Though compact in size, the hospital is huge for Columbia County residents. Not only has the county significantly grown over the last few decades, but this hospital also offers a closer option.

One study by Cornell found every five-minute increase in distance from a hospital, decreases a heart attack victim’s likelihood of getting help in time by 1.25 percent.

But besides location, the new hospital has other things to offer. As it stands right now, AU is considering having trails and gardens. The amenity is intended to help patient outcomes, act as preventative care, and also be a huge perk to staff too.

AU is also thinking ahead to the future of robotics and telehealth and is working to make sure the infrastructure of the building is ready for new advancements coming down the pipeline. One current goal is to ensure telehealth services are in place, essentially allowing patients in Columbia County to see their specialist who is still at the main campus online.

There’s still work to be done, but leaders hope the outcome changes lives and saves lives. Augusta University says they hope to start moving dirt sometime this year. Their goal is to get it all done by 2025.

“The path we’re on right now is to create a new, free-standing hospital, a MOB [Medical Office Building], in a way that I’ve not seen it created,” she said.

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