With rezoning approval from the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board, Northeast Georgia Health System moves forward with plans for a major expansion on the Gainesville campus of Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) first announced plans for expansion of the Medical Center's Gainesville campus in December 2020, but at the time did not discuss a specific timeline for the project. Hospital officials told planning board members the goal is to open Phase 1 of the expansion to patients by the end of 2024 or the first of 2025. Projected cost for the project is estimated at $700 million.
At Tuesday afternoon's meeting at the Gainesville Civic Center, planning board members heard a rezoning request for a 49-acre tract of property right next to the the Gainesville campus North Tower. The vacant site was most recently used as a temporary set-up for mobile medical pods for COVID patients.
The city of Gainesville's planning and development staff had recommended approval of the major expansion project with seven conditions, including adherence to architectural standards, planting of vegetative buffers around parts of the new facility and noise control for a Central Energy Facility (CEF), which is set to be built adjacent to the Sherwood Park Drive professional park.
When the proposed expansion is finished, it will add 927,500 square feet of space to the NGMC Gainesville campus, making it the third largest hospital campus in the state behind Grady Hospital in Atlanta and University Hospital in Augusta.
The central portion of the project is a 12-story patient tower, with 10 floors occupied with bed space; one other floor would house mechanical equipment and another would be used for a rooftop helipad. The current emergency room would be moved to the ground floor of the new tower. The new tower alone will encompass 660,000 square feet of space. An additional 795 parking spaces will be built on the hospital campus. Road improvements on Downey Boulevard, South Enota Drive and Sherwood Park Drive are part of the plan, as well.
The vote to approve the rezoning request was unanimous, with Board Chairman Doug Carter abstaining.
The request must receive final approval from Gainesville City Council. A vote has been scheduled for Oct. 5, 2021.
See full information on the plan as submitted to the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board here.