WellStar looks to build in Holly Springs
by Erin Dentmon
February 06, 2013 12:06 AM | 3077 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOLLY SPRINGS — WellStar Kennestone Hospital has filed a letter of intent with the Georgia Department of Community Health to build a $21 million off-site emergency facility in Holly Springs.

The proposed facility is the first step toward a medical campus that might eventually include a hospital, city records show.

The hospital sought rezoning and a conditional use permit for the site at a Jan. 17 Holly Springs planning and zoning meetings. The planning commission voted 5-0 to table WellStar’s requests until Feb. 28 at the request of the applicant.

The proposed 61-acre location is in front of the new Cherokee County Aquatic Center.

WellStar’s emergency facility is proposed in the southwest quadrant of the Sixes Road and Interstate 575 intersection, putting it across from Northside Hospital’s Holly Springs medical care and imaging facility on the northeast corner.

The plan comes at a time when Northside Hospital is moving forward with its replacement 84-bed hospital at exit 19 just a few exits north of the proposed WellStar site.

WellStar fought Northside’s plan to build the new facility to replace the present 84-bed hospital in north Canton.

WellStar spokesperson Keith Bowermaster said Tuesday the hospital has not yet bought the land at Exit 11 of I-575.

“It’s under contract,” he said.

WellStar representative Richard Calhoun said at the meeting that WellStar’s health park on Sixes Road could include primary care, a limited emergency room, doctors’ offices, a hospital and a home care facility, according to meeting minutes.

If the city approves WellStar’s zoning application and the company decides to proceed, the development would likely happen in three phases, Calhoun said during the meeting.

Calhoun asked for the vote to be tabled to allow WellStar more time to work with the city on conditions and stipulations.

Meeting minutes show that several residents spoke at the meeting and cited concerns about noise and the site’s buffer area.

Bowermaster said WellStar is initially planning a health park with square footage of up to 120,000 feet but has not set a timetable for future development on the site.

The hospital’s plans are still in the conceptual phase, Bowermaster said.

“WellStar doesn’t have plans in place to build a 100-bed hospital or a hospice facility...there’s nothing on the books that says we’re going to build a hospital there by (any certain) year,” he said.

The hospital is trying to keep long-term possibilities in mind while working with the city, Bowermaster said.

“It’s a large piece of property on a great location. It’s very accessible,” Bowermaster said. “If it’s deemed that those services are needed, then this property allows us to build those.”

To proceed, Wellstar must submit a certificate of need application to DCH on Feb. 11.

Another hospital, Cartersville Medical Center, has applied for a certificate of need with DCH for an off-site emergency facility in Cherokee Village East in Acworth.

Cartersville Medical Center’s application was deemed incomplete by DCH on Dec. 19. DCH spokesperson Pam Keene said the hospital can resubmit its application, which will be reviewed when complete.

WellStar also filed a letter of intent for an $18 million off-site emergency facility on Cobb Parkway in Acworth.

In October, WellStar filed a letter of intent to build an outpatient surgery center in Woodstock. The hospital withdrew its request before filing for a certificate of need.

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