Liberty Regional Medical Center held a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday for its $14.7 million expansion, which project contractors said should be complete by fall.
Despite rain, more than 60 people — including hospital authority members, elected officials and hospital staff — turned out for the event, which was held in conjunction with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.
Liberty County Hospital Authority Board Chairman Jon Long, also chief deputy with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, spoke first.
“We just want to convey our thanks to the community for what’s going on here. We especially want to thank the Liberty County Board of Commissioners for their support during the years,” Long said. “I came on the hospital authority in the end of 2000, I believe it was. Things were not as good as they are now — let’s just leave it at that.”
He said the hospital’s growth and change are a testament to support from the community, hospital medical and administrative staff.
With the expansion, staff will have more space to serve the community. The work includes a 14,000-square-foot expansion to the existing 70,000-square-foot facility that will double its emergency room and add a C-section room near the obstetrics area.
Dan Spinetto of Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors offered a look at the timeline for the work, which he said began more than a year ago with budgeting and design discussions.
“Here shortly you’ll see the structure for the ED addition coming out of the ground …,” Spinetto said. “You’ll see the steel show up for the women’s center on the other side of the hospital, and we look forward to cutting the ribbon on the expansion in the fall.”
Once the exteriors are constructed, Spinetto said, the work will be done inside, and it will appear to be quiet. He added that there also are planned renovations for existing parts of the hospital.
Ryan Clements of Aaron & Clements Construction Management Services said the project “owner” — the hospital board, LRMC CEO Scott Kroell and staff — has been more unified than typical project owners are.
Bill Alexander of HKS Architects said his firm works with health-care entities throughout the state, and LRMC seems to be on solid footing.
“A lot of hospitals in some of the outlying communities are struggling and having difficulties staying full and that sort of thing,” Alexander said. “Your hospital here is dynamic. It’s staying full — you can tell when you come out looking for a parking space.”
Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette, who works for the hospital, and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, who also serves on the hospital authority board, also spoke about the value of a strong health-care system to a community.