Mountain States: Architect, builder selected for $20M new Unicoi County Memorial Hospital

Contributed To The Press • May 24, 2016 at 12:06 PM

ERWIN — Progress on the new Unicoi County Memorial Hospital took another big step forward last week when the hospital’s community board and its visioning committee unanimously selected the design and construction companies for the project. Earl Swennson Associates will be the architect and Layton Construction will be the builder.

The time line for the new facility calls for construction to begin in spring of 2017 with a grand opening in the fall of 2018. The hospital will be located on Temple Hill Road beside the Nolichucky River, just off I-26 at Exit 40.

Unicoi County Memorial Hospital is a member of Mountain States Health Alliance, which used Earl Swennson Associates (ESA) to design two of its other hospitals – Smyth County Community Hospital and Johnston Memorial Hospital in Southwest Virginia. Both ESA and Layton are headquartered in Nashville.

“This is an exciting time because we’re one step closer to having a new hospital for Unicoi County,” said Eric Carroll, AVP/administrator at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. “We feel really good about our selection of these two firms. We’re familiar with ESA because of their experience with Mountain States, and we were very impressed with their presentation and ideas for this project. We’re right on track for a groundbreaking next spring.”

Plans call for the new hospital to offer inpatient acute-care services as well as new resources for increasing access to primary care. With the movement of services to the outpatient setting, a trend seen nationally, the new hospital will be constructed to lend itself to easy access for outpatient services and state-of-the-art emergency services.

Carroll said the hospital board and visioning committee, both comprising community leaders from throughout Unicoi County, and hospital administration will seek input from each hospital department over the next several months to help finalize the design.

“We want this to be a great hospital that fits the needs of the community,” Carroll said. “We want it to be as safe, efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. At the same time, it’s a beautiful setting so we want it to be aesthetically pleasing. It’s going to be something our community can be proud of.”

The new facility will include:

- Inpatient beds;

- Beds for observation services (for patients who do not need inpatient level of care);

- Physician office space;

- Full-service emergency department with telemedicine connectivity to Niswonger Children’s Hospital;

- Standard and advanced diagnostics, including nuclear medicine, stress testing, and CT;

- A chest pain center

- Laboratory

- Physical therapy.

The construction of the facility will represent an approximate $20 million investment in Unicoi County by Mountain States.

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