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University Hospital buys land for new McDuffie hospital, Grovetown services

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 6:52 PM
Last updated 6:57 PM
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University Hospital is spending $1.2 million to buy 40 acres of land north of Thomson to build a replacement hospital for McDuffie Regional Medical Center. But officials said they have found another tenant for one of the hospital buildings downtown once the hospital moves out.

University Health Inc. voted Thursday to buy the land a half mile north of Interstate 20 on U.S. Highway 78 that also fronts the Thomson Bypass.

“We believe it is ideally located” for a new hospital, said Kyle Howell, the vice president for support and facilities services. University and McDuffie have filed paperwork with the Georgia Attorney General’s office, who must approve the sale.

A public hearing on the sale will be held in Thomson on March 29. Officials said they expect to hear some dissent from those who wanted to keep the hospital in downtown Thomson.

“There are a few naysayers but they have some proprietary interests around the old facility,” said Dr. Randy Smith, the chair of University Health.

University thinks it has already found a “future tenant” for the hospital’s newer ambulatory care building, said University CEO Jim Davis. It was built about 10 years ago, and is in much better shape than the hospital building, which was built in 1952, he said. Code changes and the need to accommodate technology meant a new hospital building, Davis said. Smith said it would be a $25 million hospital building that would be completely funded by University.

Even with some opposition, Davis said University was “95 percent sure” the deal will be approved, perhaps by May. It would then take about six months for planning and site development and then about 1½ years to build, he said. The move is necessary not only for the capital infusion but because the hospital right now is “bleeding” $200,000 a month, said University Chief Financial Officer Dave Belkoski.

University’s board also voted to spend $900,000 to buy 6 acres in Grovetown near the Gateway shopping center for a future health care delivery site.


The Georgia Attorney General’s office will conduct a public hearing on the sale of McDuffie Regional Medical Center to University Hospital at 1 p.m. on March 29 in the Commissioner/Council Meeting Room, Administration Building, Thomson-McDuffie County Government Center, 210 Railroad St. in Thomson.

Written comments can be submitted to:

Georgia Department of Law

Attention: Heidi J. Bergmann, Hearing Coordinator

Business and Finance Section

40 Capital Square SW

Atlanta, Ga. 30334-1300

or e-mailed to:

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rmwardsr 02/23/12 - 07:32 pm
The side of town the hospital

The side of town the hospital is on now is slowly dying. But there was no room for expansion of the current hospital, so they had no other choice but to build elsewhere. We are at the saturation limit with motels, with the current construction of a new 5 story motel right off I-20, so what we need now is a few good eating establishments,and I don't mean fast food, as we currently have our fair share of these also. People resist change, but in this case, change is good.

keasha 02/23/12 - 08:24 pm
No, they've not run out of

No, they've not run out of room to expand at the current hospital. They own 21 acres behind the West Hill Street location. Now the doctors and pharmacies will feel that they need to move with the hospital and more people will perceive the "town" as dying. As a life long resident of Thomson, I think it's a bad move to build a new hospital in the unincorporated portion of the county. There's plenty of room for a facility in town.

rmwardsr 02/23/12 - 09:50 pm
keaha, I understand where you

keaha, I understand where you are coming from, but if you look at the 21 acres behind the hospital, it is a densely populated residential area. So there is not much room for design;i.e., accessibility to parking for patients as well as visitors, plus entrance and exits also pose a problem. Also in the proposed location they will be a lot closer to I-20 and be able to move patients to a larger facility more quickly. I too am a life ling resident of Thomson, but we must all acclimate ourselves to change or get left behind. The only option they would have in the old location is to completely demolish the old hospital, then we would not have one for a period of two years, according to construction estimates in the article. So, take your choice.

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