WARM SPRINGS, Ga. – Officials with Georgia Regents Heath System have unveiled a $25.8 million plan to renovate the clinical facilities at the historic Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation & Specialty Hospitals.
“It’s structurally sound and has great potential, and we want to restore much of its original glory while providing a place for quality rehabilitative care and healing,” said Jennifer Smith, associate vice president of Planning, Design and Construction for GRHealth.
GRHealth assumed management of the rehabilitation and acute-care services at Roosevelt Warm Springs in June 2013 in conjunction with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.
“We have great things going on here. These renovations are really going to benefit our patients and families and the whole community of Warm Springs,” said David Mork, CEO of Roosevelt Warm Springs Hospital.
Construction will be primarily focused in the North and East Wings where clinical long-term acute care and rehab care is provided. The renovations will impact approximately 90,000 square feet and dramatically improve the facility’s infrastructure, therefore improving the patient experience.
“Roosevelt Warm Springs is steeped in history, but we need to upgrade the facilities and accommodations in order to be able to deliver advanced care. We are a modern, innovative, cutting-edge facility,” said Bradley Higdon, with BDR Partners, during a presentation to members of the Meriwether County Board of Commissioners and chamber, government and community leaders. BDR is the owner program manager that will oversee the multimillion dollar project.
Renovations include relocating the facility’s main entrance so it is highly visible and easily accessible to patients and visitors.
“We want it to be intuitive so you don’t have to search for it,” Smith said. “Patients and families shouldn’t have to find the entrance. Right now, they have to drive to the back of the campus. When we are finished, they’ll have a very noticeable and inviting front entrance. We want their arrival to be a welcoming experience.”
A new imaging suite for radiology services and a procedures unit will be added to the second floor of the North Wing, which houses the long-term acute care hospital. The third floor of the North Wing will become a “high observation” area, and it will be upgraded to accommodate as many as 16 patients on a ventilator.
“Right now we only have four rooms for ventilator patients, but after the renovations are made, we will be able to care for about four times as many,” Smith said.
In addition, the outdoor porches on the East Wing will be restored and reopened to the outside, so patients and their families can enjoy an open-air atmosphere once again.
The renovations will be made in keeping with the Meriwether County and Georgia Historic Preservation Division.
“We appreciate the emphasis on protecting the historical integrity on the campus. Incorporating that is very, very important to the local community,” said Carolyn McKinley, president of the Meriwether County Chamber of Commerce. “Engaging the local community, like you’ve done today, is also important. We are your allies and can help take the message out there.”
Georgia State Rep. Robert Trammell, D-Luthersville, thanked colleague Rep. Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City, and Gov. Nathan Deal for their tireless work in encouraging the state legislature to approve the budget and the general obligation bonds that are making the Roosevelt Warm Springs Hospital renovation project possible.
“The hospital represents an economic engine and a driver, and we welcome the opportunity to put these dollars to work here,” Trammell said. “It’s a great project for us here in Meriwether County.”
The design and planning phase of the project is coming to a close, and the work could begin as early as November.
“We are beginning to have contractor open houses to identify local contractor resources,” said Higdon. “This is a project that the entire community can benefit from. We have a 16-month plan, and there is much work to be done.”
The project is expected to be finished in early 2017.
For more than eight decades, Roosevelt Warm Springs has provided a comprehensive, individualized style to medical rehabilitation for patients, enabling them to return to the most independent lifestyle possible in their homes and communities.
Conditions most commonly treated in Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital include stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries and neuromuscular diseases. As many as 340 patients undergo rehabilitation in Warm Springs each year.
About 160 patients are admitted to Roosevelt Warm Springs Long Term Acute Care Hospitals. These patients usually have a need for ventilator weaning or have complex conditions or illnesses involving their respiratory system, cardiovascular/peripheral vascular system, infectious diseases, or complex wounds and require a level of care comparative to an ICU.