Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Northside Hospital-Cherokee is taking shape

October 25, 2015

As the new Northside Hospital-Cherokee begins to take shape on its perch above Interstate 575 in Canton, the replacement hospital has expanded its patient capacity from 84 to 105 beds and is on target to open by spring 2017.

The $257 million project is anticipated to generate an additional 300 jobs for the community, an increase over the 1,200 employees who work for the local hospital at its present site.

“We are trying to bring a lot of positive growth for Cherokee County, get past the aging infrastructure at the old hospital and bring new technology for the future,” said Steve Aslinger, facilities planning and development director for Northside Hospital.

In addition to the hospital building, the new Northside Hospital-Cherokee includes a medical office building and 900 parking spaces on a 50-acre complex. “The hospital building will be topped out in December and those driving by will be able to see how it is going to look,” Aslinger said. “Then we will spend the time finishing the inside.”

In February 2014, Northside filed a certificate of need for an addition of a sixth floor to include 12 new medical/surgical inpatient beds, state documents show.

A 12-bed expansion was approved on June 17, 2014. An additional nine-bed expansion was approved on March 30. Total approved capacity is now 105 inpatient beds, Georgia Department of Community Health reports show.

All 105 inpatient rooms will be private, have individual baths with a handrail to the bathroom and include an innovative family zone among other improvements, Aslinger said.

“Patient rooms in the past were small where only a patient could stay, but in this hospital, in every room there will be an area where family members can stay — a family zone — so that the family can be involved in the patient’s care,” Aslinger said. “We talked with those involved through health care today and we truly want to bring best of health care to our design.”

The hospital planner said each room will be equipped with the latest technology and have room for the hospital staff to input information about the patient into a computer while in the room, and to be able to retrieve it.

“This is, again, going to help the families be involved, to make the patient feel comfortable,” he said.

Aslinger said the hospital facility is actually three components in one.

“What you see rising up is the large seven-story structure, with the medical tower, and on one side, the women’s center, three-stories with labor and delivery, and nursery, and on other side, the critical care, diagnostic, emergency room, Critical ICU and surgical suites,” he said.

The hospital will not be licensed for a trauma facility, but will include a helicopter pad, he said.

Northside owns a total of about 300 acres near Exit 19, including the 50-acre hospital campus, the hospital’s chief planner said, and the health care organization is working to find appropriate partners to build housing for those who will work in the area, as well as additional office space.

In addition to the hospital, Northside is now building a 125,000-square-foot physician building with both a tunnel and a bridge connecting it to the main hospital, he said.

“We want to go ahead and get people familiar with the area, and we already have a couple of tenants for the office building, which should be able to open next September,” Aslinger said.

“This project, since it is the first I have been involved in for Northside from the ground up — and I have been working on this for 11 and 12 years — I am excited,” he said. “At this point we have not had a ground breaking, instead we have a virtual groundbreaking.”

Residents are invited to visit www.northsidecherokee.com . Updates are available on the projected two-year construction, which began in March, and include a live-feed camera, details about services and facility layout, and additional facts about the size and scale of the build.

Aslinger said that while the work on the parking deck will continue on weekends and outside normal working hours, after some complaints from neighbors and the city, the hospital has made improvements to the situation.

“We did ask the city in December last year to not be restricted in work hours, so we could work on weekends and outside hours, “he said. “Once we were made aware that issues were going on with the neighbors, we got a team out. We normally pour concrete early in morning, but we got out on site and listened and observed and brought some improvements, and neighbors say we have made a difference.”

Click here to view the original article from the Cherokee Tribune.