ATLANTA-Shepherd Center, a 29-year-old catastrophic care hospital that turned away 200 patients last year for lack of space, is resolving that problem with the groundbreaking of the $53-million Jane Woodruff Pavilion, a 170,000-sf addition that will bring the existing 243,000-sf facility to 413,000 sf. The project is expected to be completed in early 2007.

The site is at 2020 Peachtree Road, near the Piedmont Hospital in the Buckhead district of Downtown. Already considered by industry sources as the largest hospital of its kind in the US, the expansion is being built at an estimated hard construction cost of $312 per sf.

The addition is named the Jane Woodruff Pavilion after the local philanthropic family that founded the Woodruff Foundation. “The demand for Shepherd Center’s services is keeping pace with its increasingly national reputation,” hospital president and CEO Gary Ulicny says in a prepared statement. “We are seeing a new demand for specialty care among patients outside the Southeast region.”

Founded with six beds in 1975, Shepherd plans to build a four-story addition to the Billi Marcus Building and renovate some existing space to increase the number of beds to 120 from 100, according to Larry Bowie, the hospital’s public relations manager.

Bowie says the addition will be financed through existing reserves, bond issues and funds raised during Shepherd’s 25th anniversary capital campaign. About 65,000 sf of existing space will be renovated for various improvements. The new building will be constructed near the hospital’s front entrance on a parking area currently used for outpatient parking. Those spaces will shift to an adjacent multi-level parking garage.

The new building will house new therapy gyms, treatment rooms, a larger and centralized outpatient department, additional ICU space, administrative offices and dining space to accommodate the larger staff and patient population.

“The expansion will allow Shepherd to reconfigure and eliminate many of the patient rooms that group four people together in the same unit, a model once considered the norm for rehabilitative care,” says Shepherd’s Ulicny.

The hospital’s chief executive says Shepherd annually admits more than 850 patients and conducts about 30,000 outpatient clinic visits.

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