By Kristi Reed
BRASELTON, Ga. - When the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton opens in 2015, the impact will go far beyond additional medical services in the area.
In economic terms, the 580 new jobs at the hospital will result in total employee compensation of $70 million according to Anthony Williamson, Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Vice President of Greater Braselton Development. Another 800 related jobs are expected to be created at area physicians offices and other facilities. Those jobs, Williamson said, will result in $100 million in employee compensation.
"It's going to be a big benefit to this local economy," he said during the March 22 NGHS health fair at Medical Plaza 1, located adjacent to the hospital construction site.
The economic benefit will likely grow as NGHS already has long-range expansion plans. The hospital will open with 100 beds, but Williamson expects that number to grow to 350-400 over time. The hospital foundation, he said, is designed to go up to 11 stories high -- eight stories higher than its initial 3-story height. Medical office space on the hospital campus is also expected to increase. Medical Plaza B is a 5-story, 125,000-square-foot office building attached to the hospital. The building -- which will house 45-50 physician offices -- is expected to open in December 2014 or January 2015 and, Williamson said, is the first of three planned for the main NGMC Braselton campus.
"Everything has been designed and master planned over the next 15-20 years to allow for growth," Williamson said.
Expansion plans are not limited to the main hospital campus. The west campus, where Medical Plaza 1 is located, will eventually include another building, Medical Plaza 2. There are also plans to expand the services offered at Medical Plaza 1. An unfinished suite on the main floor of the building is slated to house medical and radiation oncology services. Williamson said the date those services will be available is not yet known, but it could be as soon as this year.
In addition to the 100 inpatient hospital beds, NGMC Braselton will include a 17-bay emergency room, four nursing units, a 12-bed intensive care unit, seven operating rooms, two endoscopy suites and two interventional radiology labs. The hospital will offer inpatient dialysis, cancer services, heart and vascular services and outpatient surgery services.
By the end of 2015, the hospital expects to have an average of 52 inpatients per day.
The hospital will also feature surgery and heart center waiting areas, a ground floor cafeteria and an educational space. The hospital will open with approximately 700 ground level parking spaces, Williamson added.
Access to the hospital campus will be off State Route 347/Thompson Mill Road. Williamson said a traffic light will be installed at the hospital entrance and eventually a second entrance will be added as the campus expands. Hospital officials are also planning to connect the hospital main campus with the Medical Plaza 1 west campus by way of a bridge. The opening of that project, Williamson said, will coincide with the opening of the hospital.
Northeast Georgia Health System hopes NGMC Braselton will be one of the first hospitals in the nation to achieve a gold level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) healthcare certification.
To that end, NGHS has incorporated several "green" features into the design of NGMC Braselton and already has recycled 92 percent of the waste generated during the construction process.
So far, 160 500-foot-deep geothermal wells have been drilled to heat and cool the hospital building. The campus will also use reclaimed water for irrigation, install "dark sky" lighting to reduce light pollution, and offer solar-powered electric car charging stations.
Other nearby NGHS facilities
During the March 22 presentation, Williamson also provided an update on other NGHS facilities. While Medical Plaza 1 is expected to grow within the next year to include oncology services, there will be changes in terms of existing providers. Some of the physicians offices, such as the cardiology practice, are expected to move to the Medical Plaza B adjacent to the hospital. Those vacant offices will eventually be backfilled. However, the Urgent Care center at Medical Plaza 1 will remain open, Williamson said.
The Thompson Mill Road medical offices, located at 5737 Thompson Mill Road near the hospital site, will also remain open though some of the physicians may ultimately relocate to the hospital campus.
Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Hamilton Mill will move from its current location on Teron Traceto a new building near the Dacula ALDI later this year.
A new Northeast Georgia Physicians Group office is also expected to open in late 2014 in Dacula. That facility will also include an urgent care center and will be located near the intersection of Dacula Road and Hurricane Shoals Road, Williamson added.
Hiring is already underway for several positions at the new hospital and for other NGHS facilities. A complete listing of job openings is available on the Northeast Georgia Health System careers website.
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Northern Gwinnett County news including the cities of Dacula, Ga. and Buford, Ga.