It is the final stretch of a four-year journey for Augusta University.
CEO of Augusta University Medical Center, Lee Ann Liska, says, “We have exactly where our 100-bed hospital will be, and now we will begin planning in the site terms of where things can go.”
Those site terms were presented at Columbia County’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
It was unanimous approval for the medical center, but Doctors Hospital continues to appeal AU’s Certificate of Need, which is required to build the medical center.
“We have no reason to believe that we will not win this appeal like we’ve one every single other appeal,” says Liska.
With the legal approval on standby, they are still moving forward with more than just a medical center.
Columbia County’s Planning and Zoning Chair, Jim Cox, says for that area, AU is also requesting “spa facilities, manicurists, hair salons, fitness centers, hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants.”
Assistant Vice President for AU Strategic Planning and Business Development, Jennifer Miller, says, “We want to promote the health and wellness of the Columbia County residents.”
These facilities will not only promote a healthier lifestyle but also, for some, a way of living.
“I think that there are going to be some companies that partner with them that are going to bring employment opportunities, very lucrative employment opportunities to the area,” says Cox.
Their request will need to be approved by the Columbia County Commission before they can start building the other facilities.
“We are still very much in the early planning and design phase for the buildings that will go on the property,” says Miller.
Final legal approval for the Certificate of Need to build the hospital could come this summer.
“It’s going to raise the overall quality of care because it’s going to make medical care more available to the public,” says Cox.
The next Columbia County Commission Meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 7 at the government complex in Evans.