Rotarians learned Monday about the gradual plan of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to expand its presence in Forsyth County.
Linda Cole, vice president of trauma and emergency services for the nonprofit pediatric health care system, spoke to the Rotary Club of Johns Creek.
The plan, she said, begins with a 20,000-square-foot lease at The Avenue Forsyth.
“We really wanted 27,000 square feet, but 20,000 was all [The Avenue] had left when we started looking,” she said.
In June, Children’s Healthcare will open a clinic-style health services facility in the site.
Services could include urgent care, orthopedics, gastrointestinal, sports medicine, rehabilitation and prosthetics for children and young people under age 21.
“One of the things we heard the most was orthopedics, so we’re excited about that,” Cole said. “You will not have to leave Forsyth County, except for surgery, for orthopedics.”
The satellite location is just a starting point for Children’s Healthcare, which bought more than 27 acres next to The Avenue Forsyth.
Cole said the original plan was to build right away. When the economy soured, however, the focus shifted to maintaining the existing Children’s locations.
“It costs $2.5 million a day to run our system, so it’s not a small operation,” Cole said.
In the coming years, the Forsyth site likely will house a full Children’s hospital, complete with inpatient beds, diagnostics and surgical services.
“On 27 acres, you can do almost anything,” Cole said.
Luke Haymond, club president, said while fellow Rotarians are not strangers to the pediatric organization, Cole’s visit was enlightening.
“I think the membership in general benefited from understanding more about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, all their facilities and how they work together,” he said.
The club last year raised and donated about $15,000 to the hospital to help educate children who need to miss school to receive dialysis treatments.
“They were the major benefactor of our fundraising efforts last year,” Haymond said. “We’re excited about their efforts ... a facility closer to our population is in everybody’s interest.”