Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Lopez said the work was needed to keep up with the expanding county population, which increased 43 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The expansion project, Lopez said, is adding new emergency department rooms while doubling the number of beds in the hospital’s intensive care unit from eight to 16.
“As a part of this expansion, the hospital is also adding a nine-bed admit-and-recovery unit as well as a new cafeteria and a retail pharmacy,” Lopez said.
Shaun Baxter, the onsite superintendent of construction, and hospital Facilities Engineering Director Lint Clements agreed that the way the demand for health care services is booming and WellStar Douglas Hospital “is crammed right now.”
“This construction will give us badly needed space in order to satisfy the growing needs of this community hospital,” Clements said.
Baxter said the construction schedule, which began last August has not been slowed by the recent snow and ice storms.
Douglas County resident Joyce Miller, who had stopped by the hospital to view the construction last week, said the hospital is one of the highlights of the county and needs to grow as the population grows.
“What they are doing here is great and, once it is completed, WellStar Douglas will be able to increase its services to this community,” she said.
Lopez said the hospital provides a wide range of comprehensive health care services, including an outpatient diagnostic treatment center, surgical services, inpatient dialysis, intensive care, maternity services, medical services and rehabilitation services.
“Our specialized services include interventional radiology, cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes education, home health, medical imaging, senior services, wellness and prevention program,” she said.
The first Douglas Hospital opened on Fairburn Road in 1948. It completed a $4 million, 98-bed facility with an adjoining structure for physician offices in 1974.
Cobb General Hospital acquired Douglas in 1992, and both became part of the Northwest Georgia Health System the following year.
The system then renamed itself WellStar in 1998.