The ceremony was held on the grounds of the future Health Park, located at 4550 Cobb Parkway in Acworth just north of Cedarcrest Road and the Acworth Wal-Mart, and hosted a crowd of over 130 people.
“We are trying to get quality health services out to where everyone lives,” WellStar CEO Reynold Jennings said. “Buildings don’t help people — people do. But buildings like these can help caregivers give care to their patients more efficiently and effectively.”
The general contractor for the project, Kennesaw-based Brasfield & Gorrie, began construction on Aug. 8, so the foundation and numerous steel beams already decorated the campus Monday afternoon.
Joe Brywczynski, WellStar senior vice president and health parks administrator, said the Health Park, set on 30 acres in north Acworth, will open in early summer.
“This is a new concept, and we will be one of few in Georgia with this approach,” Brywczynski said of the “one-stop shop” concept of the Health Park. “This will be comprehensive, with a co-mingling of many services and physicians’ offices. It will bring a new level of convenience to residents in this part of the county. And with the screenings and wellness services, you don’t have to feel sick to access the services.”
Brywczynski said the first two floors of the Health Park will be made up of physicians’ offices, all of which are completely leased mostly by physicians who are part of the WellStar Medical Group.
The Acworth Health Park will also hold a diagnostic center with pediatric and adult imaging, a lab and pre-admission testing; urgent care; a sleep center; community education and outreach offices; a pharmacy; and a café.
Medical practices for the Health Park include cardiology, ENT, family practice, gastroenterology, general surgery, hand surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, orthopedics and pulmonology.
Brywczynski also said that east Cobb megachurch Johnson Ferry Baptist Church had purchased land behind the Health Park campus and is planning to develop a Cedarcrest Baptist Church on that property in the next few years. When that happens, Brywczynski said the two will have “shared parking and programming.”
WellStar spokesman Keith Bowermaster said the health system began looking at the Acworth property as a possible Health Park in 2004. But due to neighbors’ opposition to the rezoning and the consequential lengthy zoning litigation, WellStar did not close on the property until Nov. 2009, Bowermaster said.
WellStar also has a second Health Park planned for east Cobb at the corner of Roswell and Providence roads. That project is expected to be of much larger scale than the Acworth project, as it is planned to be four stories tall, three stories from the road and one hidden by a slope in the land, and nearly 188,000 square feet with a 20,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center. That project is expected to cost around $80 million.
But the East Cobb Health Park project has been wrapped up in litigation for the past several months, as Northside Hospital officials challenged the Certificate of Need granted to WellStar for the East Cobb Health Park by the state Department of Community Health last September for the outpatient surgery center. Bowermaster said WellStar officials expect to hear from the DCH in January and that plans are still under way to begin construction in the late spring and begin seeing patients in fall 2013.
Jennings on Monday said that WellStar is considering developing a third Health Park in Cobb, though he would not comment on where that Health Park would be located.
Attendees during Monday’s event included Cobb Chairman Tim Lee; Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews; Acworth Alderman Bob Weatherford; Cobb Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Membership Sharon Mason; and numerous WellStar physicians, board members and staff members.