Among those attending the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce breakfast was County Commissioner Steve Taylor updating the progress of LakePoint Sporting Community & Town Center. With the approval Wednesday of an intergovernmental agreement for the construction of 1.5 miles of roadway within LakePoint’s southern campus, Taylor declared the long-awaited project a done deal. Chamber President and CEO Joe Frank Harris Jr. called the moment a “game changer.”
“Finally after many, many months, all the contracts and negotiations are over and finally yesterday we sealed the deal for LakePoint to start the road project,” Taylor said. “If anyone asks now about LakePoint, you can just say, ‘Call Brasfield & Gorrie.’ They’re the engineers. The county and the state is out of it now, all we’re doing is inspecting the road. We’re hoping we can assist them in other ways, but basically the deal is done. LakePoint is going to happen. Bass Pro has bought their property, of course, and closed on it. They’re just waiting on access to get to their property, so that is a done deal. There are a few rumors going around, people thinking it might not happen, but it is going to happen — the funds are there.”
Presenting sponsor of Thursday’s breakfast was Cartersville Medical Center with CEO Keith Sandlin briefing Adairsville chamber members on the economic importance of Bartow County’s medical community as well as the hospital’s current and future projects.
“I’m often asked, ‘What’s the economic impact of the medical center and medical community in the county?’” Sandlin said. “It’s pretty significant. I think most of you recognize that the medical community is an important economic engine. For 2012, we ended up with about 700 full-time employees, about $50 million in payroll. We paid about $5 million in local and state tax — a lot of people still don’t realize we’re a tax-paying entity, and we’re happy to fill that role — and then we provided about $75 million in charity and free care.
“Those numbers don’t include our medical staff and our physicians, so there’s definitely a multiplier. That’s just hospital numbers. So if you factor in 150 physicians and the staff they employ and the financial contribution that they make to Bartow County, it’s really significantly higher than the numbers I gave.”
CMC currently is undergoing a major project totaling nearly $30 million in capital investment to add a patient floor, renovate all existing patient rooms, expand the emergency department and revitalize the hospital’s exterior facade.
“The new third floor is now completely dried in,” Sandlin said in his wrapup of the project status. “It’s a new, 20-bed, all-private unit. We still have 16 semi-private rooms and we know that semi-private rooms are a real dissatisfier for patients and families and it makes it difficult for our staff, so upon completion of that third floor in August we plan on moving to all fully-private rooms.
“And we’re just about through hanging the steel for the new addition to the emergency room. That’s going to add an ‘L-shaped’ addition more than doubling the size of our emergency room. We’ll go from 18 rooms to 32 rooms, we’ll have a CT scan actually located in the emergency room, additional trauma rooms, additional cardiac rooms and some behaviorial health rooms as well.”
As for the future, Sandlin hopes to follow the current project with another hospital expansion and eventually add more patient rooms. CMC also has a “certificate of need” application before the state now for the construction of a free-standing emergency department just south of Bartow off of Ga. Highway 92 in Cherokee County to serve the Acworth and Allatoona communities.
The Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Adairsville chamber hosts Eggs & Issues on the first Thursday of every month. For more information, visit www.cartersvillechamber.com or call 770-382-1466.