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Phoebe Breaks Ground on Trauma & Critical Care Tower And Living & Learning Community

Albany, GA | January 26, 2023 – Phoebe held a joint groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for two transformational facilities that, together, represent the largest construction project in the Albany area and the most significant investment in new healthcare infrastructure in southwest Georgia in recent years.

“Phoebe is committed to remaining our region’s largest provider of quality, comprehensive and advanced health services, and these projects will ensure we can continue to meet the healthcare needs of the people of southwest Georgia for generations to come,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President & CEO.

Phoebe’s four-story Trauma & Critical Care Tower will house a new emergency and trauma center, a new neonatal intensive care unit and a new adult intensive care unit. The fourth floor will initially remain undeveloped and available for future expansion needs. Phoebe’s Living & Learning Community will address the critical nursing shortage by creating an expanded nursing school for Albany Technical College (ATC), along with 80 apartments, so nursing students can live on the same campus where they learn and train.

“The nursing shortage has created an unsustainable labor crisis for hospitals across the country. We are proud of our innovative work to address the issue in our region. The Living & Learning Community is the centerpiece of our efforts to create new career opportunities for southwest Georgians and expand the pipeline of nurses and other health professionals in our part of the state,” Steiner said.


The first floor of the building will include more than 50,000 square feet of learning space and will be the new home for ATC’s nursing program. In addition to students in the registered nurse and licensed practical nurse programs, ATC students studying to be certified nurse assistants, medical technicians and phlebotomists will also take classes in the new building. The Living & Learning Community, combined with Phoebe investments that are helping ATC hire additional nursing instructors, will result in a dramatic increase in the college’s number of nurse graduates.

“Our partnership with Phoebe is essentially allowing us to quadruple the enrollment in our nursing program,” said Emmett Griswold, EdD, Albany Technical College President. “Albany Technical College has seen an influx of nursing applicants and is striving to ensure that all eligible applicants are admitted and successful in their program of study. The Living & Learning Community will expand opportunities and help us attract students from a broader area, benefitting more people throughout rural southwest Georgia,” Dr. Griswold added.

The Living & Learning Community is being built on the east side of Phoebe’s main campus, continuing a legacy of learning at the site of a former public school. It will also be home to the Southwest Campus of the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus. The apartments are scheduled to be ready for occupancy in July 2024, with ATC classes set to begin in August 2024.

The Trauma & Critical Care Tower is being constructed on the north side of Phoebe’s main campus and will connect to the current emergency center. Once the new construction is complete, the current emergency center will be completely remodeled, resulting in one seamless, large and modern emergency and trauma center.

“The emergency center basically serves as the front door of any hospital. It’s where most patients begin their hospital stay,” said Deb Angerami, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO. “Our current emergency center has served us well for 25 years, but we need a larger, more modern facility that will help us operate more efficiently and allow us to expand our trauma services as we prepare to seek state designation as a Level II Trauma Center,” Angerami added.

The tower will also include a new 20-bed adult intensive care unit – important, as the demand for critical care services grows in Phoebe’s service area – and a vastly expanded neonatal intensive care unit.

“As part of Phoebe’s designation as one of the state’s six regional perinatal centers, our amazing NICU team cares for premature babies from 22 Georgia counties. Our current NICU is licensed for 27 beds, but because of the incredible need for neonatal services, we often have more than 40 NICU babies in our hospital. This project will take us from 11,000 square feet of NICU space to 45,000 square feet and will include overnight accommodations for visiting families,” Angerami said.

The Trauma & Critical Care Tower and Living & Learning Community are the latest advancements toward fulfilling Phoebe Focus goals that the health system unveiled in August 2019.

“As part of our Phoebe Focus strategic plan, we pledged a $250 million investment in new facilities, services, technology and staff to elevate the healthcare available to the people of southwest Georgia. The COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays, but it did not lessen our commitment to the communities we have the privilege of serving. Despite the many challenges we have had to overcome throughout our COVID fight, we have made great progress on our Phoebe Focus initiatives,” Steiner said.

Below are the six key areas of investment outlined in the original Phoebe Focus plan, along with updates on the progress in each of those areas since the plan was announced.

  • Private Patient Rooms – ensuring all inpatients in all Phoebe hospitals are cared for in private rooms.
    • This goal has been accomplished.
  • Emergency Care – transforming emergency care across the region through a new and expanded emergency center at Phoebe’s main campus and creating a state-certified Level II Trauma Center.
    • A new helipad opened in March 2020.
    • In the fall of 2020, Phoebe completed a major renovation project and process improvements, creating a safer environment in its main emergency center and resulting in more efficient visits for emergency patients.
    • Phoebe hired the trauma leadership and completed data gathering that is required to seek state designation as a Level II Trauma Center.  The American College of Surgeons (ACS) completed an initial site survey, and Phoebe continues to work with ACS through its verification, review and consultation program.
    • In 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health designated Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital a Level 1 Emergency Cardiac Care Center, Georgia’s highest level of emergency cardiac care.  Phoebe is the only Georgia hospital south of Macon to earn this designation.
  • Ambulatory Care – expanding Phoebe’s network of community care, urgent care, primary care and specialty care health centers by opening at least five new centers to take healthcare beyond the walls of the hospital and offer lower cost options for patients.
    • Two mobile wellness clinics hit the roads of southwest Georgia in March 2021.
    • A new urgent care center in Lee County opened in November 2021.
    • Phoebe Dermatology & Plastic Surgery moved to an expanded, stand-alone facility.
    • A project that significantly expanded and upgraded Phoebe Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine was completed in 2022.
    • Phoebe continues to work to identify potential locations for additional urgent care centers.
    • A Phoebe workgroup is engaging with stakeholders in east Albany – including residents, faith leaders and other healthcare providers – to develop a long-range plan for Phoebe East that will add services and focus on community health.  The urgent care and occupational health areas of the building will also be renovated.
  • NICU and Women & Children’s Services – renovating and expanding NICU space and services, improving access to pediatric specialty care and enhancing obstetrics and gynecological services across the health system.
    • The new project will create a larger, state-of-the art NICU.
    • Phoebe completed a demolition and rebuild of the mother/baby unit on its main campus.  The unit features all private rooms, new furniture, an infant exam area, new well-baby procedure area, advanced infant alarm system and spacious nurse stations.
    • Phoebe signed a new clinical affiliation agreement with Atrium Health Navicent in Macon.  Through this innovative children’s care relationship, specialists from Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital see patients at the Phoebe Pediatric Specialty clinic and Phoebe physicians and pediatric patients have access to expanded services and state-of-the-art treatments.
    • Phoebe opened a renovated inpatient pediatric unit on its main campus.
    • Pediatric hospitalists Dr. Marie Jean-Baptist and Dr. Oghogho Igbinoba began serving pediatric inpatients.
  • Phoebe North – creating a care campus to provide greater continuum of care through services such as expanded rehabilitation, behavioral health, long-term and transitional care.
    • Phoebe North served as Phoebe’s primary hospital for COVID-19 patients through multiple major surges.
    • Phoebe partnered with Affabilis to create a 24-bed long-term acute care hospital at Phoebe North.  Facility upgrades and the licensing and approval process are ongoing.
  • Operating Rooms – ensuring all operating suites at the main hospital are upgraded to elevate care delivery and help ensure the best outcomes for patients.
    • Phoebe renovated and upgraded one operating room to transform it into the main hospital’s second hybrid OR suite.
    • An $8 million project to upgrade the HVAC and humidity control systems in the OR area is almost finished. Following its completion, all operating suites will be upgraded and modernized individually.

Phoebe has also undertaken other major improvements that were not specifically outlined in the original Phoebe Focus investments. For example, the Phoebe Simulation & Innovation Center opened in June 2020. It is one of the finest and most advanced training centers on a hospital campus in the country, and it is a vital part of Phoebe’s commitment to patient safety and workforce development.

“We’re extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish since we announced our Phoebe Focus initiative, despite all we have faced through the COVID crisis. Everything we are doing is focused on our patients and improving the level of care and service we provide them, and we are excited about what is to come in the future,” Steiner said.