The future looks bright for the McDuffie Regional Medical Center.
Plans for an 18-acre medical plaza expansion to be located directly behind the hospital are coming along, according to MRMC CEO Doug Keir.
While Mr. Keir said that construction of what he calls a "medical plaza or medical professional park" is still several years away, the business of acquiring permits and coordinating development studies and plans is already well underway.
"We began to explore sometime over a year ago the development of the site into individual one to three acre lots that medical professionals -- not just physicians, but other entities -- might consider purchasing after we get all of the permits and other business taken care of," he said. "I would say we're still early in the process."
Mr. Keir said the Hospital Authority has already been in contact with Georgia Power about the cost of developing the 18 acres, which will extend all the way back to Ware Street. He estimated that the project would cost around $530,000.
While the hospital will certainly want to control some aspects of the project, such as consistency in building design and aesthetics, Mr. Keir said essentially the hospital will be in charge of selling the land to interested parties, though that role could certainly change in the future.
"The thought now is that we would be nothing more than the seller of the property. We do not have a desire to build a building at this point. Now, that may change in time. We may venture with physicians at some point. It all depends on what the environment is at the time," he said.
Hospital officials hope some of the development costs will be offset by a OneGeorgia grant.
"We're looking at (the grant) to see whether it would be feasible to expend any more monies than we already have spent in purchasing land and getting the various permits," said Mr. Keir. Three residential properties located on Ware Street were acquired in the mid-1990s for an expansion project that was to consist of a 30,000-square-foot medical office building.
Hospital officials decided on the medical park after coming to the conclusion that many of the physicians that would have had offices in the proposed building had chosen to open their offices in town instead.