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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 15:08

New Franklin hospital could move out to U.S. 441

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Angel Medical Center has been located in downtown Franklin for 60 years, but hospital officials are looking into the possibility of building a new facility out on U.S. 441.

According to a press release, Angel Medical Center began its evaluation of potential properties to construct a replacement hospital this summer and recently completed a due diligence assessment phase. Based on the assessment, the site under evaluation at 1 Center Court — at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Hunnicut Lane — met the most important criteria for the new facility. The potential site is located near Entegra Bank Headquarters.

The announcement that Macon County would be getting a new $45 million hospital was made back in May around the same time Mission Health and AMC announced the closure of the labor and delivery unit at AMC. At the time, Mission CEO Ron Paulus said it would cost the health care system more to renovate the existing building than it would to build a new facility — and not planning to include a labor and delivery unit in the new facility would save another $7 million.

When talking about potential locations back in May, AMC President Karen Gorby mentioned the hospital owned about 9 acres adjacent to the current facility that might be a feasible option, but it looks like officials are moving in another direction.

“The proposed site will offer a more central and easier-to-access location for patients, visitors and staff, allow for more prominent and clearer wayfaring signage and potential future expansion,” the press release stated. “In addition, it will enable project architects and the hospital’s planning team to create a building and grounds design that optimizes parking for patients. This is especially important for the Emergency Department and visitor parking sections. The proposed site also offers an approach that contributes to traffic decompression that will have a favorable impact on patient and visitor experiences.”

Hospital leaders and the project team are now moving forward with the required steps to seek North Carolina state regulatory approvals necessary as part of the site selection process. The site selection process is one that requires extensive research and the meticulous consideration of multiple aspects of a potential property, ensuring that it meets a range of standards established by the hospital’s leadership, project team and board in order to accommodate the new facility’s physical requirements and anticipated flows.

AMC will have to apply for a Certificate of Need with the N.C. Department of Health Services Regulation and approval must be obtained in order to finalize the selected site.

“Given the clear need for a replacement facility, close proximity to the current hospital location and obvious community benefits, leaders don’t anticipate any good-faith concerns about this site, according to the press release. “The $45 million investment in a new, state-of-the-art replacement hospital for Macon County and the surrounding community represents a major investment in the future of healthcare for the region and a benefit to every resident of Franklin.”

Gorby said the new site and the new hospital will house the clinicians and state-of-the-art equipment that are essential to provide the best patient care.

“With our oldest building being 60 years old, it was time to think seriously about how our facility would remain strong in the decades to come. A suitable site will be the foundation for the hospital that will serve our deserving community members and their healthcare needs in the best way possible,” she said.   

“We are both proud and excited to take this next step to support our community.  The incredible replacement facility will serve our community for many decades to come, making a difference in the lives of so many in Franklin and the surrounding region,” said AMC Board Chair Jane Kimsey.

AMC hasn’t yet purchased the property, which is currently owned by Entegra Bank Corporation. Entegra owns several parcels in that area, one of which is 23 acres. The last sale price of that parcel was over $2.1 million and the assessed value is $1.6 million.

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