Under a clear blue sky Thursday afternoon, local leaders joined representatives from University Hospital to break ground for the hospital's $8.7-million, 60,000-square-foot medical office complex in Evans.
Hospital President Larry Read had one request: When ribbon-cutting time comes in December, the weather should be similar.
"Anytime someone announces a 60,000-square-foot, $8.7-million investment in Columbia County, we guarantee a day like this," said Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Andy Kingery, who took the credit for Thursday's weather.
Eventually, the medical offices will house about 40 doctors -- and probably 200 staffers, hospital officials hope.
Read said the building is just the latest part of the 70-acre campus the hospital purchased in 1984. Back then, some people questioned the move, wondering, "Why would you purchase that much land in the middle of nowhere?" Read said.
Debra Sanders, the vice president for HDR Architecture, talks to University Health Care System Board Chairman Lee Smith (center) and Keith Taylor, the health care principal for HDR Architecture, after the ground-breaking ceremony.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Well, just look around," he said.
Also on the 70-acre Columbia County campus are: a smaller medical office building built in 1994, the Day Surgery Center built in 1996, Westwood Nursing Home built in 1997 and the second medical office building and prompt care center built in 1998. There's also the offices of Pediatric Partners -- the busiest of three in the Augusta area, said pediatrician Dr. Alan Getts.
Later this year, officials will gather on the property again. Then, they'll be ready to break ground on another building -- more offices coupled with a diagnostic center, Read said.
"But that's another announcement for another day," Read said.
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