Health campus coming to Columbia County with or without disputed new hospital

Friday, May 3, 2019

A new health campus is coming to Columbia County, with or without a hospital

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A medical center could soon become a reality in Columbia County, and we're hearing more about those tentative plans for the surrounding land.

The new AU medical campus is currently in the middle of a lawsuit with Doctors Hospital, but if it goes in their favor we could see more office space open up, and even more restaurants.

A meeting was held Thursday to discuss rezoning for the land where that hospital would sit in a mixed-use campus, and it's all happening fast.

"I've seen dirt roads become paved, buildings come up," said Bonitta Black, and Columbia County resident. "Things are moving out this way."

But fellow neighbor Patricia Slagle disagrees, saying it's all happening too fast and too soon.

"Well, I live on this end of the county so I'm not missing a hospital. If I wanted to go to Doctors, I'm only like 10 minutes away and if I wanted to go to University downtown it's only like 25 minutes," Slagle said.

Columbia County is the largest county in Georgia without a hospital. Some say medical is the missing puzzle piece

"You hear people that say it is and you hear people that say it isn't

Jim Cox has heard the talk for years about a 100-bed hospital, but it's been at a stand-still as AUMC and Doctors Hospital battle in court.

"I've been told that the construction on the hospital will wait on that decision, but there's a ton of other construction from medical office buildings to the retail and commercial," said Cox.

Even without the hospital, the plan is to create a medical lifestyle area with a spa and trails. It would act as a health and wellness center that goes beyond an emergency room.

In terms of the lawsuit for the hospital, the court of appeals will make a final ruling in July. At that point, Doctors Hospital can decide to take it to Georgia's Supreme Court. And if not, Augusta University can begin building the hospital.

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