VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - It has been a long journey for community members within Cook County, and now the community will get to witness a brand new facility that will help boost the economy entirely.
"There's tough hills to climb and mountains to get over," said Chairman Chase Daughtery.
A little more than a year ago, Tift Regional Health Systems made a decision to close down the Cook County Medical Center Emergency Room.
Community members were up in arms about where they would receive medical care as the nearest hospital was 30 miles away.
"The challenges that are facing healthcare, especially rural healthcare, are astronomical," said Daughtery.
After the Cook County stakeholders were approached by community members explaining their needs for a center, CEO Michael Purvis jumped into action to make sure all was not lost.
"It was a year ago today that our community showed up in resounding fashion to show support for the new replacement facility and today we start that journey," said Purvis.
Community leaders came together for the groundbreaking of the new 120,000 square foot facility that will not only keep healthcare in arms reach but boost the economy throughout the county.
"This will create about 50 new jobs which represent about four and a half million dollars in local salary," explained Purvis.
The center will have a potential surgical unit that caters to orthopedics, general and vascular surgery.
There will not be an ER, but there will be a Convenient Care Clinic for minor injuries and illnesses.
The entire project is expected to cost approximately $40 million.
"The board of commissioners were able to come together, reach a compromise, keep communication lines open and put a package together that enabled us to break ground here today," explained Daughtery.
The new Cook County Medical Center will be located just off Exit 37 on I-75.
The center is expected to be complete by September of 2019.