The new Phoebe Sumter tops off - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The new Phoebe Sumter tops off

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) – It was a sunny and breezy day today in Americus. Much different weather than it was the last time there was a permanent hospital building in the Sumter County city.

On Friday, the final beam was put in place at the new Phoebe Sumter Hospital. The beams went up quickly but the work still went on here without any major setbacks.

John Owens, the Project Superintendent said, "that's what the tree signifies, was that the building got topped out with no major injuries."

But while the beams have only taken a few months to be put into place, work on the new hospital has been going on for much longer.

"It was a year ago this week that we broke ground for the new hospital campus," said Keith Petersen of Phoebe Putney Hospital.

For the last few years, the hospital has been housed in a temporary facility across town from the construction site. But the beginning of this story is not as far away - across the street in fact.

On March 1st, 2007, a tornado ripped through the city. Two people lost their lives and the hospital was destroyed. With the nearest hospital being miles away, it was clear that a new facility would be needed.

The complex that is going up now will include the main hospital and three other buildings as well.

"The medical clinics will begin to open next month," said Petersen.

And while the new complex will be much larger than either the old one or the temporary facility, there are other features that are unique to these buildings as well.

Brian Smith of Brasfield Gorrie Construction said, "it's going to be a LEED certified building."

LEED certification means that the building will be energy efficient. No detail has been missed, even the light bulbs. The new hospital will have about 42,000 bulbs, and most of those will be the energy saving types. And there are other green features as well.

"All of the water that runs off of the roofs goes into a storage tank in the ground for irrigation purposes, so we won't be using any potable water," said Smith.

While the building itself will be green, for Sumter County the hope is to form partnerships that could lead to another type of green.

"Of course, we get many of our employees from either South Georgia Tech or the nursing program at Georgia Southwestern," said Petersen.

Whether green or not, for the workers there's always a sense of pride when a part of the job is finished.

"Everybody's real proud of their work. A lot of local people. Good American work going on," said Owen.

And when the hospital is finally open, people here are hoping that sense of pride will spread throughout the community as well.

The new hospital itself is scheduled to open late next year.

Officials with the hospital authority of Sumter County estimate the complex will have an annual economic impact of more than 120-million

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