April 5, 1999
Volume 51, No. 26
CLH to redevelop site, build new diagnostic center capped by 16-story medical office space
Crawford Long Hospital is embarking on an ambitious redevelopment plan--one of the largest hospital construction projects ever in Georgia. Emory administrators announced last Wednesday that the 90-year-old hospital will join the ranks of downtown and midtown businesses who are changing Atlanta's cityscape with the construction of a 500,000-square-foot, six-story diagnostic and treatment center topped by a 16-story medical office building.
The new complex, which will include a 1,000-space visitor parking deck, will help consolidate the hospital's outpatient services--now located on three different city blocks--and eliminate the need for patients and visitors to navigate a maze of hospital corridors and tunnels.
Patient beds will remain in the same area, the Peachtree patient tower, and the historic Davis-Fischer and Orr buildings will remain. Five other buildings will be demolished to make way for the new center-the Woodruff Building, the School of Nursing (closed in 1988), the two Candler Buildings and the Glenn Building. Construction is expected to begin in early fall and should be completed by 2003. Patient services should not be fundamentally disrupted, administrators said. A combination of the hospital's reserve funds and University-issued bonds will help fund the $270 million construction.
The project was approved unanimously by both the University Board of Trustees and the Woodruff Board. As required with all hospital construction, a Certificate of Need will be submitted to the state within the next 30 days, said Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Johns. "Then we'll begin the long process of creating, in essence, a new Crawford Long Hospital."
"This initiative will create a first-tier medical facility that will set a new standard for health care delivery in Atlanta for the 21st century," said John Henry, Emory Hospitals' chief executive officer. "The cornerstones for the project are convenience for patients, doctors and staff, continued clinical excellence and enhanced community development."
Trustee James Williams, who chairs the Woodruff Board, said, "The new pedestrian-friendly campus will showcase Crawford Long's centers of excellence. Two show pieces for the new Crawford Long complex will be the women's services center--which will redefine the market for obstetrical, neonatal and related services--as well as the renowned Carlyle Fraser Heart Center." Plans call for expanding the hospital's Emergency Department as well.
The developer for the project will be Cousins Properties, whose chairman and CEO Thomas Cousins has been a longtime supporter of downtown Atlanta development and is an Emory trustee. Said Johns, "Tom Cousins understood and designed [the complex] for both the practice of medicine and the patient experience." Cousins Properties also developed the Emory Conference Center.
A well-attended press conference announcing the hospital's plans included many trustees and friends and Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell. "It's hard not to be energized when we see this kind of tremendous investment in our central city," he said. "Only five or six years ago, they were writing the epitaph for downtown Atlanta. The Emory/Crawford Long family is making a tremendous statement of their confidence in Atlanta."
As Atlanta's midtown begins to undergo a "renaissance," as Cousins termed it, Henry and other administrators feared the aging hospital would lose its position as a hospital of choice for metro Atlanta. It is essential, Johns said, to keep Crawford Long a strong hospital referral site because of it role within the growing Emory Healthcare program and the support it provides the School of Medicine and the University. Crawford serves more than 100,000 patients a year and has more than 1,000 doctors and 2,000 employees on its staff.
Now the Crawford Long campus, where 90 percent of the buildings are more than 50 years old, will get a leg up on the next century, much like Emory Clinic and Emory Hospital, which has undergone 26 renovations and redesign projects over the past four years alone.
In the long run, the renovation will save the hospital money, since it costs about $6 million a year simply to maintain its aging facilities, said Ronnie Jowers, associate vice president for health affairs.
A web site devoted to the redevelopment project can be found at <http://www.emory. edu/WHSC.