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Photo Contributed by the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics / An artist's rendering shows the $18.7 million ambulatory surgery center being built in Tyner for the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.

The Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics LLC has begun building one of the region's biggest outpatient ambulatory surgery facilities along Interstate 75 in Tyner to expand and replace the center's existing surgery suites in downtown Chattanooga.

The $18.7 million complex at Tyner and Walker roads is projected to open in summer 2023 with eight operating rooms, two procedure rooms and 40 pre-operative and recovery bays. The new, 37,500-square-foot complex will replace the smaller, existing surgery center that the Center for Sports Medicine now operates at the corner of Holtzclaw Avenue and Third Street.

"We are thrilled to break ground on our new surgery center, which we anticipate will be a destination for orthopedics in our region," Dr. Benji Miller, medical director for the center's ambulatory surgery center, said in an announcement of the new facility. "We made the decision to pursue the new ambulatory surgery center to expand our footprint and be a leader — both in our community and across the country — for innovative outpatient orthopedic surgical care."

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Photo Contributed by the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics / Physicians and other leaders in the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics shovel dirt during a ceremonial groundbreaking last week for a new ambulatory surgery center being built at Tyner and Walker roads along Interstate 75.

As a growing share of hip and knee replacement surgeries move out of a hospital setting, medical researchers project that more than half of the total joint replacement surgeries will be in the outpatient setting by 2026, along with many other procedures — including spine care. Across the country, more orthopedic surgeries and interventional pain management procedures once performed in hospitals are moving to an outpatient setting.

The outpatient surgery center is being erected on 4.3 acres now being cleared for the new ambulatory surgery center, which will replace the practice's current surgery center downtown. Once built, the new ambulatory surgery center is expected to have about 75-80 workers and be able to accommodate all 21 physicians in the Center for Sports Medicine practice.

Since its start in 1979, the Center for Sports Medicine has grown to include nine locations in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tennessee, and Kimball, Athens and Ringgold, Georgia.

"Our practice has continued to see tremendous growth in every area, including outpatient surgery," Becky Farmer, chief executive officer of the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics, said during a groundbreaking at the new site last week. "Part of our mission is to continue to deliver a more affordable option for safe, high-quality care. The new ambulatory surgery center will provide efficient, cost-effective surgical procedures and interventional pain management with the continued level of excellence that patients have come to expect."

Lauren Lawson, director of marketing for the Center for Sports Medicine, said the Tyner site was selected "based on convenience for patients coming from all of our clinic locations.

"Our new ambulatory surgery center will be utilized for surgery and procedures, and we will not schedule clinic visits at this facility," she said.

The center is among a number of new outpatient and ambulatory care facilities built or planned in the eastern part of Hamilton County. Although all three of Chattanooga's major hospitals are located within a couple miles of each other downtown, HCA Parkridge built a $12 million, 11-bed emergency room two years ago on Lee Highway next to the Parkridge Valley psychiatric hospital, which is within a mile of where the Center for Sports Medicine is building its ambulatory care center.

Parkridge is also looking at building a facility to provide emergency services on Camp Jordan Parkway at the entrance to the East Ridge park.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter @dflessner1.

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