Between 2010 and 2020, Columbia County’s population grew by more than 25 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this growth, the county still doesn’t have its hospital. The closest hospital is Doctor’s Hospital, which depending on where you live in the county could mean a half-hour drive.
But that won’t be the case much longer.
Augusta University Health System CEO, Katrina Keefer said she and her staff are currently in the design phase for a new five-floor, 100-bed hospital in Grovetown. It will be located just off Exit 190 on Gateway Boulevard near Walmart and across the street from Quest Church.
Keefer said construction is expected to begin later this year, and she anticipates the hospital will open in 2025. But it’s still too early for her to provide a projected cost.
AU Health has hired both SmithGroup and TVs, an Atlanta-based architectural firm, to help with planning and designing the medical center.
“We are being very diligent and thoughtful about the layout and design of the facility to maximize the functionality,” Keefer said. “It’s not every day we get to build a hospital from the ground up, and we are making sure we allow for expansion of the facility as Columbia County continues to grow.”
The health system received permission to build the hospital in November 2014, but lawsuits filed by other local hospitals put the project on hold for about seven years.
Like other hospitals, she said the new facility will provide treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions.
“The Columbia County hospital will feature most of the specialties that a community hospital would provide, but be plugged into the unique services at the main AU Health campus, including the Georgia Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Georgia, among others,” Keefer said.
She said the plans also include a medical office building, green space, and a walking trail.
“We are building a hospital that will be a vital part of Columbia County for generations to come,” Keefer said.