Originally created 04/24/04

New expansion begins



Medical College of Georgia executives, state and local lawmakers, and other Augusta notables helped break ground Friday on the sites of two future multimillion dollar medical buildings and officially opened a third.

At the future site of MCG's Health Sciences Building, a $37 million, 183,000-square-foot facility between the Jennings and Walter L. Shepeard buildings, MCG President Daniel W. Rahn welcomed more than 100 guests to the day's ceremonies.

The building will house the college's School of Nursing and School of Allied Health Sciences. Construction will take 18 months.

Calling Friday a "red-letter day" in MCG's history, Dr. Rahn thanked local and state supporters who helped make the construction of the two facilities a reality.

"These are concrete signs - no pun intended - of MCG's continued advancement," Dr. Rahn said.

"But the real celebration is the unprecedented level of work by the dedicated faculty and staff that merits these expansions," he said.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith also spoke at the first ground-breaking ceremony, calling the construction of the buildings "enormous strides forward."

"It just makes me so excited I want to pop," Dr. Meredith said.

After Augusta Mayor Bob Young declared Friday "Ground-breaking Day at MCG," three sets of college officials, lawmakers and local legislators took turns donning white hard hats and using silver shovels to ceremonially break ground for the Health Sciences Building.

The crowd then trekked down the road to the future site of MCG's $54 million Cancer Research Center. The 160,000-square-foot center, at R.A. Dent and Laney-Walker boulevards, is expected to be complete by May 2006.

The crowd then walked to MCG's addition to its Interdisciplinary Research Building on Laney-Walker Boulevard for the third segment of the day's ceremonies, where officials shared a giant pair of scissors to cut two red ribbons at the building's entrance.

The $27 million, 94,000-square-foot addition essentially doubles the space of the building and will house biotechnology incubation, research endeavors and the Department of Physiology, Dr. Rahn said.

Reach Kate Lewis at (706) 823-3215 or kate.lewis@augustachronicle.com.