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New Unicoi County Memorial Hospital on track to open in October

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Mar 19, 2018 at 2:17 PM

ERWIN - Construction on the new Unicoi County Memorial Hospital is running on schedule and on track for completion early this fall.

Six months away from accepting its first patients, the main hospital building is now under roof and nearly framed in with electrical and plumbing installations in progress.

A concrete pad is also in place for construction of connecting a 5,000-square-foot medical office building to go up soon on the south side of the 20-bed hospital.

“We’re getting close,” UCMH Administrator Eric Carroll said. “We’re right on time, and later this year, sometime before opening, we’ll be doing some pubic tours so everyone can see the latest health care technology they’ll be getting.”

Under construction since July at 2030 Temple Hill Road, located just off Exit 40 of Interstate 26 at the Jackson Love Highway, the new $20 million, 40,000-square-foot facility will open a new chapter in the 64-year history of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.

Planning for the new hospital was initiated in 2013 as part of an incentive agreement for the transfer of ownership of the current Unicoi County Memorial Hospital to the former Mountain States Health Alliance that recently merged with Wellmont Health System to become Ballad Health.

Surrounded by mountains and bordered by the Nolichucky River, the lush, 45-acre hospital site was purchased by what went on to become Ballad Health in 2015.

A visioning committee made up of community leaders and hospital administrators was involved in its planning and created of a list of guiding principles for its development that include patient- and family-centered care, easy access and navigability, support for advanced technology and higher education and attractiveness to medical professionals.

When complete, its amenities will include a 24-hour emergency room with telemedicine connection to Niswonger Children’s Hospital, acute care services, a chest pain center, standard and advanced diagnostics including nuclear medicine, a community education area and adjoining office space to be leased to private primary physicians and specialists.

Carroll said, “We’re very excited the project continues to be on track for a scheduled opening in the fall, and we will be offering the public a chance to tour through and see it all before it opens.

“It’ll be here before you know it.”

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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