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Hospital expansion approved
State allows Northside additional floors, wing
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Forsyth County News


Northside Hospital-Forsyth recently received state approval for a $51 million expansion project that will add three new floors to the north tower and a three-story wing to the women’s center.

“We remain committed to expanding our services and facilities as it becomes necessary to meet the ongoing medical needs of the communities we serve,” said hospital spokes-man Russ Davis. “We see growth in every area of care we provide, as well as in new services like cardiac angioplasty.”

The project, slated to begin this winter and expected to take between 18 and 24 months, will include about 110,600 square feet of new construction and nearly 10,000 square feet of renovations.

The north tower expansion will house a replacement 24-bed critical care unit as well as support, office, training and ancillary services.

The hospital’s 10-bed critical care unit will become a pre-surgical assessment area. The adjacent 10-bed intermediate intensive care/critical care overflow unit will be converted into an emergency department clinical decision observation unit.

“This project is multi-faceted and will require new construction, relocations and expansions of some services and major renovations of multiple areas all over the campus,” Davis said. “The two most visible areas that will be impacted are the North Tower closest to Ga. 400 and the women’s center.”

The Georgia Department of Community Health approved Northside’s certificate of need application, giving the green light to get started. Certificate approval is required by state health planners as an effort to avoid duplication of expensive services and evenly distribute medical care across Georgia.

Davis said the need could be attributed to the steady growth in Forsyth and nearby counties over the years. Inpatient admissions, he said, has increased by nearly 18 percent annually since 2001. Inpatient occupancy remains near 100 percent, while the optimum occupancy level is 75 percent.

“The need for this expansion is supported by the state’s inpatient bed-need model based on the continued population growth in the Forsyth and Dawson areas as well as the increased inpatient utilization of the hospital and its many services,” Davis said.

Northside’s women’s center, only about two years old, will get a nursing unit, including nine inpatient beds and 15 observation/extended recovery beds dedicated to gynecology and women’s surgical services.

That project will also include a women’s education center with support, storage, physician sleep rooms and mechanical space.
The hospital has also received approval to expand its Level II neonatal intermediate care unit from four to eight bassinets.

“We are delighted that the Forsyth and surrounding area residents continue to trust the care and services we provide at Northside Hospital-Forsyth,” said Skip Putnam, hospital CEO. “We truly appreciate their support and confidence and we commit ourselves daily to providing unsurpassed health care to our community.”

About 140 full-time equivalent employees will be needed to man the new facilities, Davis said.

The consistent job additions and growth are what make the hospital such a valuable asset to the community, said James McCoy, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Northside has been in growth mode and expansion mode for a long time,” McCoy said. “To me, it speaks volumes about our community and what a strong environment that the health care sector is in Forsyth County, as well as Northside’s continued vision that Forsyth County is just a great place to do business.”