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Architects hired for Georgia hospital planned near Augusta

October 31, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Plans for a new Georgia hospital outside Augusta took a big step forward with the hiring of architecture firms.

The Augusta University Health System board voted Thursday to bring on Washington, D.C.-based SmithGroup and Atlanta-based TVS to design the 100-bed hospital in Grovetown, the Augusta Chronicle reported. It will be Columbia County’s first hospital.

“This is probably the most important decision that we’ve made,” AU Health CEO Katrina Keefer said. “Getting the architect selection in place allows us to think about and truly be engaged in planning for the hospital.”

The design will incorporate lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a reevaluation of hospital sites, rooms and even parking lots, said Cindy Beckham, with SmithGroup, who will serve as principal-in-charge of the project.

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Beckham said architects are thinking about how to create comfortable “safe zones” outside for waiting and how to bring in and discharge patients separately. The project also will have to account for expanded use of telemedicine.

Keefer said the pandemic also revealed a heightened need for “swing spaces” that serve multiple functions.

A final cost for the new hospital has not been determined, but officials have estimated it at around $150 million, with 20% paid by Columbia County, according to the Chronicle.