GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – We now know more about the preliminary plans for Columbia County’s newest hospital. It’s set to be Augusta University Heath’s largest free standing facility.

“I think this will be a hospital for generations to come,” said Rick Plummer, Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Branding. “I think that’s the exciting part is it has the ability to grow with Columbia County and something that the community will depend on and rely on for generations to come.”

Take a look at the design of Columbia County’s newest hospital. Augusta University Health’s largest free standing facility will be located in Grovetown, between I-20 and Gateway Boulevard.

“Right now, it’s slated for 100 beds,” Plummer said adding those rooms will be private. “We hope to break ground later on this year, with an expected completion of 2025.”

Architects from the Washington, D.C. based SmithGroup and TVS Group from Atlanta will oversee the project. The design is still in the beginning stages, but Healthcare Studio Leader Cindy Beckham said the layout will include a six-floor hospital and a medical office building.

“So, our primary focus at this time is to understand how we create safe and efficient access onto the site, through the site from parking into the building. Once you’re in the building, how we’re creating an efficient flow for patients and for staff,” Beckham explained.

Architects are also looking at ways to make sure pedestrians and vehicles can safely co-exists. And since there is a plethora of greenspace, the community can expect wellness and health options on property.

“We’re looking at creating walking trails on the site that people can come to and utilize, but also so the staff who are working there many hours a day have a way to get outside and be able to relax,” she added.

Additionally, Beckham said they want to keep the area as real as possible, maintaining the beauty that already exist. There’s a bit of science behind the design too. The plan is to ensure the building is positioned to maximize sunlight hours while minimizing heat. They also plan to position the medical office building on the highway side to avoid noise.

Plummer said COVID taught AU about the need for space, so the site will offer opportunities for flexibility and growth. Beckham said that means patient rooms can be used as isolation areas.

AU Health is a teaching hospital and that aspect remains at the new campus.

The hospital is expected to be complete in 2025.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps