NEWNAN, GA-Build new or fix old. That’s the dilemma citizens groups in Coweta face on their only hospital in the county, the 40-year-old Newnan Hospital on Hospital Road. Two groups have different ideas on how to fix the problem.

The Newnan-Coweta Area Hospital Task Force maintains that the existing facility is obsolete and would not be cost-effective to try and bring it up to date. Newnan Hospital directors, however, are confident a planned two-phased renovation is the answer.

Meanwhile, New York-based Bovis Lend Lease, the privately held construction firm, has advised the task force that it would cost $85 million–or about $300 per sf–to build and equip a new 281,600-sf hospital. The cost of land would be added to the hard construction cost. A site hasn’t been selected.

However, the directors at the existing hospital continue to press for renovation rather than new construction, sources tell The hospital board estimates the first-phase renovation would come to about $20 million.

But the task force officials say that number is too low. Bovis estimates the total renovation cost to be about $60 million, or only $25 million less than the estimated construction cost of a new hospital, sources tell

Besides the cost of land, still an unknown factor, the hospital would have additional expenses because $40 million in acquisition debt is still on the books, has uncovered. Newnan Hospital was saddled with the debt when it purchased Emory Peachtree Regional Hospital in 2002.

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