EAMC breaks ground on new health sciences center

Published: September 13, 2019
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East Alabama Medical Center broke ground Thursday on an 84,000-square-foot health sciences center at the Auburn Research Park. The center will house a freestanding emergency department, an ambulatory surgery center with four surgical suites and four endoscopy suites, as well as health science and medical research units.

Laura Grill, chief executive officer of East Alabama Medical Center, said the freestanding emergency department will relieve some of the burden from the emergency department at the hospital, which sees more than 50,000 patients per year.

“This is a momentous day as our hope is that this will improve access to care for Auburn residents and other people on this side of the county and communities west and south of here,” Grill said, noting that the current Auburn University Medical Clinic provides care not only to students who are away from home, but university faculty and staff as well.

The facility, which is expected to be completed in December 2020, will also house 17 physician partners from across several specialties, including orthopedics; ear, nose and throat; ophthalmology; plastic surgery; and endoscopy.

With the growth rate in the Auburn metropolitan area, which includes Lee County and Opelika, projected to be significant with a population approaching 180,000 by 2025, this new facility is necessary to serve the needs of citizens.

“For more than half a century, almost 70 years in fact, East Alabama Medical Center has provided high quality, compassionate health care to this community,” said Jimmy Sanford, Auburn University trustee and chair of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation Board. “The growth in Auburn Research Park and at East Alabama Medical Center is part of a larger strategy to meet needs and contribute to our vibrant and ever-expanding community.”

East Alabama Medical Center’s partnership with the Auburn Research Park has spanned nearly a decade through the center’s connection to the MRI Research Center. The MRI center is home to EAMC’s RehabWorks and imaging clinic, which uses Auburn’s 3 Tesla MRI capability for patient diagnostic purposes.

“We also collaborate with multiple schools, including the School of Nursing and the Harrison School of Pharmacy, where students can come to EAMC for their clinical rotations,” Grill said. “Then, if we are lucky, we can attract them to come back after graduation to work with us for many years, and many do.”

East Alabama Medical Center’s presence in the park will create additional opportunities for internships and clinical research, and will help serve the medical needs of Auburn’s growing population. 

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.