Athens-Limestone Hospital, INKANA Development, and OrthoSports Athens, are pleased to announce the ground breaking of a three-story medical office building with outpatient surgical tower being developed by Athens-Limestone Hospital. It will be an approximately $25 million facility, and will be located at the hospital’s Medical East campus off U.S. Highway 72 and Lindsey Lane in Athens. It is the largest healthcare project of its kind to have been planned for our area. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held Friday, January 20, 2017 at 3 pm, at the site of the new center, which is located at 22454 U.S. Highway 72 in Athens, across from the Publix Shopping Center. The surgical tower has several excellent “neighbors,” including Medical East Urgent Care, one of the newer fire stations, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Traditions Assisted Living facility, which is currently under construction. Athens-Limestone Hospital President David Pryor said the building will be a “medical office building, to include a surgery center with six operating rooms, imaging and laboratory services, and physician office space spread across 75,000 square feet. Construction is expected to take about 1.5 years to complete. The project is considered an expansion of the Athens-Limestone Hospital surgery department. “We are excited for the opportunity to continue the growth of health care services for the citizens of Limestone County with this project," Pryor said, and he is not alone in his enthusiasm. Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks told me that he “couldn’t be happier, for a number of reasons. Not only will the people of Athens-Limestone County have a new medical facility to serve them, but it will create jobs, and that is always a good thing. Our ongoing commitment to our community is to improve quality of life, and this is an example of how we are growing as well as preparing for the future.” Eddie Ayers is the CEO of OrthoSports, and oversees their day to day operations. He said that “Basically we have outgrown our current location, as well as the surgical availability at Athens Limestone Hospital. We are glad to have grown, but we knew that if we were going to be able to continue to serve our patients well, and accommodate the growth we are experiencing throughout our area, we were going to need a new location. So, we are very excited to be partners in this new facility. We will be able to add on more doctors, increase our elective, outpatient, ‘scope’ type surgeries, and will still do the total replacement surgeries at the hospital. The doctors of OrthoSports are investing in this facility because they want to raise their families here, they want to retire here, and this is one of the ways they can give back to the community.” I had the chance to chat with Austin Blackwell of INKANA Development, the firm handling the development of the new tower, who explained how the layout would function, and who would be occupying each floor. “The first floor is going to house outpatient surgery, imaging and a retail pharmacy. The second floor will be the home of OrthoSport Athens and Drayer Physical Therapy. On the top floor, we will have Integrity Family Care, which will be their second office in the area.” He finished our talk by saying, “This will be a state of the art medical office building that provides tremendous community benefits. It will also be a prominent symbol of the partnership between Athens-Limestone Hospital and the Huntsville Hospital Health System, and a facility the people of Athens & Limestone County will be very proud of…we sure are here at INKANA.” By: Ali ElizabethTurner

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