Hutcheson Medical Center officials unveiled the newly renovated main lobby of the main campus building in Fort Oglethorpe on Thursday.
CEO and president Charles Stewart, however, upstaged the mountain stone columns, gleaming floors and umbrellaed cafe tables with the announcement of an entirely new facility in Tennessee.
“Today, I am very excited to announce an expansion of our health system,” he said. “Within the next 30 days, we will complete construction of a new family care center.”
Mr. Stewart said the primary care facility will be adjacent to the new Bi-Lo Center on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road at East Brainerd Road — north of the entrance to Windstone, and north of the state line in the heavily residential East Brainerd area.
It’s Hutcheson’s first foray into Tennessee.
Groundwork on the clinic, which will treat patients from 5 years to senior citizens, was under way before the recent economic downturn, Mr. Stewart said.
Hutcheson board chairman Stan Porter said, “It’s a great time to make the move. ,” Mr. Porter said. “This is an under-served area and with the economy down, this gives us time to build our customer base for when it goes back up.”
The clinic will be directed by Dr. Eric Carter, now with the hospital’s family clinic in Chickamauga.
The new investment includes construction, equipment and staffing, but Mr. Stewart did not have a cost estimate.
He said it will come from cash reserves, not the $35.5 million bond issue financing renovations. The first phase was celebrated Thursday, and still coming are new furnishings and high-tech equipment, boosted by funds and pledges from the Hutcheson Auxiliary and Hutcheson Health Foundation.
Hutcheson is using all local labor, and watching every penny, said chief marketing officer Agnes Cloud.
Mr. Stewart said the national economic crisis has not hindered Hutcheson, or the bond issue already secured to finance the work.
“Timing really is everything,” Mr. Stewart said.