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Answering one of the biggest concerns supporters of McDuffie County Regional Medical Center had, the Family Y of Thomson and University Hospital will take over the hospital building and grounds in downtown Thomson for a new activity and outpatient center once a replacement hospital is built.

The Family Y and University announced plans Thursday to take over the 25-acre site and potentially renovate the 60,000-square-foot building, which first opened in 1952, once it is vacated for a new $25 million replacement hospital five miles away near Interstate 20. A potential sale of McDuffie Regional to University is pending approval by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. A public hearing on that sale will be held March 29.

Finding a new use for the hospital building and grounds had been a major concern for the Hospital Authority of McDuffie County, Chair Bill Doupé said.

“We just did not want an empty box” sitting in downtown, he said. With a successful Y program, Doupé said, “You could see people flocking to that end of town from all over.”

The Family Y currently operates facilities across the street from the hospital in Thomson, Doupé said. Details on exactly what will be done still need to be worked out but the move is exciting, said Millie Schumacher, the community relations director for the Family Y of Greater Augusta.

“We’re thrilled because it would mean a long-term home for our Y there,” she said. The response in Thomson has been great and the facility is limited in space, Schumacher said.

University is proposing to operate outpatient services on the site, such as physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation and community education.

“This is to me ideal,” Doupé said. “We wanted University to have a presence here, a presence on that end of town as well.”

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