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GMC heart center named after Stricklands, to open in January

President and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center Philip Wolfe (right) announces that the new open heart center has been named the Strickland Heart Center for Sandra and Clyde Strickland (left) who have donated 2.2 million dollars for the new facility. Photo Anthony Stalcup

President and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center Philip Wolfe (right) announces that the new open heart center has been named the Strickland Heart Center for Sandra and Clyde Strickland (left) who have donated 2.2 million dollars for the new facility. Photo Anthony Stalcup

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Center -- the much-awaited home of open heart in the county -- hasn't even opened yet, but it's already getting a new name.

The 40,000-square-foot facility at GMC's Lawrenceville campus was formally christened the Strickland Heart Center in a ceremony Wednesday night, taking the title from two of Gwinnett's most generous philanthropists. Clyde and Sandra Strickland have donated $3.2 million to the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation over the years, including $1 million directly toward the building that will bear their names.

"The significant generosity of the Stricklands helped us realize the vision of advanced and comprehensive cardiovascular services in the Gwinnett community at an accelerated pace," GMC CEO Phil Wolfe said. "Without their gift, it would have taken much longer to pay for the new heart and vascular center."

The GMC Foundation's open heart campaign raised a total of $9.1 million from 3,750 different donors, hospital officials announced Wednesday. The original goal was set at $8 million.

The Strickland Heart Center will begin seeing angioplasty and stenting patients on Monday. When it officially opens and begins offering a full suite of open heart surgery services, Gwinnett's moniker as the nation's largest county without such offerings will be eliminated.

"We built this facility because the community realized the importance of cardiac services in Gwinnett," said Dr. Manfred Sandler, GMC's medical director of cardiology. "Many community members were inspired by people like the Stricklands, who jumpstarted our campaign with an initial $1 million donation, and we are so grateful for that generosity."