St. Mary’s breaks ground on new hospital
By Michael Prochaska
Last Thursday wasn’t an ordinary groundbreaking. You had the shovels, the hard hats, the politicians and business leaders. Hundreds of spectators gathered around a white tent and were served refreshments. The shovels plowed into a pit of sand, commemorating the beginning of a year-and-a-half construction. But the ambiance was something to be cherished for years to come.
“It will, without a doubt, be one of the finest Critical Access Hospitals in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia House District 116 Representative Mickey Channell on Greene County’s replacement for St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital.
The 75,000 square-foot facility will serve Greene County and Lake Oconee communities but could benefit residents of Morgan County as well, said St. Mary’s PR Manager Mark Ralston.
The new 25-bed Critical Access Hospital will be twice the size of the current facility, reports have stated, and will provide 24-hour emergency care, advanced imaging, surgical services, rehabilitative services, sleep disorder services and laboratory services, among many others amenities.
“This gift to our community by St. Mary’s and Catholic Health East will ensure a healthy future for all who live, work and visit here,” said Greene County Board of Commission Chair Dene Channell, according to a press release. “Quality local health care is vital from both a quality of life perspective and an economic development perspective.”
Channell said the construction of the hospital on a 24-acre site at 5401 Lake Oconee Parkway could provide up to 300 jobs. Once completed, the hospital expects to fill 60 permanent positions and another 60 employed in other occupations affected by the hospital
“There are not that many things that happen that employ that many people in a county of our size,” Channell said. “The hospital will not only provide jobs. It will attract business.”
The new hospital is expected to cost about $40 million, all of which will be funded by St. Mary’s, its parent organization, Catholic Health East, and private donations, according to a press release. Contractors will begin laying the foundation near the end of September, with a tentative opening by early 2014.
Printed in the August 23, 2012 edition