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Cook County, GA Economic Development Commission

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Replacement hospital to open by summer 2019

As a result of tremendous community support, Cook County went from the real possibility of losing its community hospital to gaining a state-of-the-art replacement facility.

 

“The facility at the new location will be designed as a healing, patient-friendly environment that will be unique in our area,” said Cook Medical Center CEO Michael Purvis. He expressed appreciation to the Tift County Hospital Authority and Cook County stakeholders, the City of Adel, Cook County, Adel Industrial Development Authority, and Cook County Economic Development Commission. All made a team effort to come up with a plan to bring new life to Cook Medical Center instead of having the hospital struggle and/or close, Purvis said. “We feel this is a great example of a community doing it right for a rural hospital. Weʼre very excited about moving forward with this project.”

 

After much lively discussion, the County agreed to inject $5 million into the hospital project; the City of Adel agreed to inject $4 million into the project; and the Adel Industrial Development Authority and the Economic Development Commission each decided to contribute $600,000 towards the land purchase and other incidentals, said Cook County Economic Development Director Lisa Collins. The Tift County Hospital Authority has secured a $20 million United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan for the project.

 

All paperwork and all intergovernmental agreements have been signed. The groundbreaking is being planned for January 2018, and construction is expected to begin in February 2018. The facility is expected to open by June 2019.

 

The facility is being touted as a model for the future of rural hospitals, Ms. Collins said. “As our second largest employer [the Cook County School System is #1], the hospital represents a $211 million economic impact on our community,” she said. With the replacement facility, Cook Medical Center will maintain current employees and create new jobs with an expected number of employees to be 343. Purvis said the replacement facility will add 50 jobs because utilization by the public is expected to increase and some services will be added or restarted.

 

“As an economic developer for over 22 years, I must say this is a shining star and major accomplishment for any community,” Ms. Collins said.

 

“We believe this project will further improve our communityʼs ability to attract new businesses and industries to Cook County, as part of the local economic development team,” Purvis said.

 

The Tift County Hospital Authority recently approved a $29.7 million bid for construction of the Cook Medical Center replacement facility.

 

Brasfield & Gorrie, a Birmingham, Ala.-based construction company, gave the lowest bid that was approved. The other three bids were $35.5 million from Robbins & Morton, $36.9 million from Jones Construction, and $38.4 million from CPPI. Brasfield & Gorrieʼs construction projects have ranged from the new Atlanta Braves stadium to state-of-the-art healthcare facilities in the Atlanta area. (The company also has worked on aquariums and primary schools.)

 

The 118,000-square-foot hospital facility will be built at the current site of the Georgia Forestry Commission property at I-75 Exit 37. In turn, due to the efforts of Cook County hospital and economic development officials, Brooks and Cook Counties will get a new joint Georgia Forestry station. Authorities from Cook approached the Forestry Commission concerning construction of the new station. The Forestry Commission agreed to the request and relocation to Highway 76 at the boundary of Brooks and Cook Counties.

 

Purvis said the project design phase is about 90 percent complete, and the revamped hospital facility at Exit 37 will include:

* An acute care hospital with an emphasis on outpatient services. The hospital will have eight inpatient beds.

* A 12-bed inpatient geriatric psychiatric unit, the Sylvia Barr Center, named after Adelʼs late First Lady.

* A medical office building with a Convenient Care Clinic, an after hours clinic for minor injuries and illnesses. (Cook Family Wellness Center and Cook Primary Care will relocate to the medical office building.)

* An ambulatory surgery center with three operating rooms. Surgical specialities available at the replacement facility will be Orthopedic and Spine, General Surgery, Gynecology, and Pain Management procedures. A nine-bed post anesthesia unit.

* An endoscopy suite.

* The full range of outpatient services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory therapy available at the current location.

* And a 95-bed nursing home/skilled nursing facility with 87 private and eight semi-private suites. The current Cook Senior Living Center is 90 percent full, and Purvis expects the occupancy to increase at the new location.

 

There are no immediate plans to reopen the Emergency Room, which was causing a massive financial loss for the hospital and threatening its viability because 95 percent of the cases going there were nonemergency. However, the contract with local governments for the replacement facility calls for a 90-day utilization review period to see what services or hours of service should be added.

 

Plans are already underway for the reuse of the existing hospital and nursing home facilities. “Itʼs not our desire to leave behind a vacant building,” Purvis said 


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