Ground has been broken on a new Lexington Medical Center Northeast building in Northeast Columbia. Although Lexington Medical Center has several doctors’ offices in the area, the new 225,000 square-foot building will include urgent care, imaging services, outpatient services, and occupational and physical therapy, making it the first Lexington Medical facility to offer such services in Richland County.
“There is a need out here. We want to supply for the needs of the patients out here,” said Dr. G. Tripp Jones, chairman of the Lexington Medical Center board of directors. “We want to provide these services so people don’t have to worry about traffic.”
Lexington Medical Center president and CEO Tod Augsburger said the center will make it more convenient for area patients to get the services they need without having to drive into downtown Columbia or to Lexington.
“We have now nine or 10 physician practices who are part of our system who take care of patients in this area, and what they tell us is with the growth they’re experiencing out here, patients would prefer, when possible, have access to outpatient services without having to go onto a hospital campus,” he said. “So if we can provide easier access to some of the diagnostic testing or surgical or other treatment testing out here, that it’s easier for their patients not to have to come onto a campus, and we’ll be able to provide better care.”
Construction begins in July on the center, slated to open in fall 2020.
“Lex Medical Center was founded and intended to take care of our friends and neighbors in the Midlands,” he said. “We don’t have hospitals in Charleston. We don’t have hospitals in Greenville. We don’t have hospitals in Charlotte. We’re not owned by a company out of Nashville. We’re here to take care of our friends and neighbors in the Midlands, and that’s our sole purpose. So we look at the Midlands and say, ‘Where is the Midlands growing?’ Clearly Lexington County is growing, Lexington and White Knoll continue to grow, and Northeast Columbia continues to grow.”
Lexington Medical Center anticipates the center will employ 125 workers when it opens and could eventually create more than 400 jobs.
Augsburger said about 15 acres on the 21-acre site are buildable. The current project will take five acres, and the rest will include a walking trail.
“We’re going to try to put in some walking tracks over here and try to make this a more park-like environment. I think that’s important in a community,” he said.