Eastside Medical getting new patient tower

SNELLVILLE -- Eastside Medical Center is getting a new patient tower.

The 310-bed Snellville hospital had its certificate of need approved for the new facility over the summer, Chief Operating Officer Dustin Greene said Monday, and will hold an official groundbreaking early next year. Construction on phase one of the project, Greene said, is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and include three stories and 48 inpatient beds.

Phase one will also include a new operative suite and entrance to the hospital.

"We need more beds," Greene said. "We were actually full for the past two or three weeks. We could have probably used 20 more beds then. Our patients deserve new, state-of-the-art private rooms, and we're going to have that very soon."

Greene called the construction timeline for Eastside's new tower "very aggressive." Temporary fencing has already gone up around the site on the north side of the hospital's campus.

The ultimate plan for the tower -- which will be built with future horizontal and vertical expansion in mind -- is a total of five floors and 79 beds.

"It will be about a $60 million investment," Greene said.

The hospital will also hold a ribbon cutting Wednesday to celebrate the opening of its newly expanded and renovated emergency department. The $12.6 million project will expand capacity from 28 to 41 beds (almost a 50 percent increase) and include a procedural reorganization that officials hope will keep emergency room wait times down.