AtlBizChron: Roughly 3,000 jobs expected from 17-story tower in Gwinnett

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 12/19/22: 

Northside Hospital is constructing one of the tallest buildings in Gwinnett County to accommodate health care needs in the fast-growing region. 

In early December, Georgia's Department of Community Health signed off on a plan by Northside Hospital Gwinnett to add an additional seven stories to a 10-story building now under construction in Lawrenceville. The 17-story project is expected to be finished by 2025. It could create upwards of 3,000 jobs, according to the hospital.

The expansion will grow the number of inpatient beds to 696. It will nearly double the current inpatient capacity of the Level Two Trauma center, which has been stretched to its maximum by the Covid-19 pandemic and population growth. Gwinnett is expected to surpass Fulton and become the state's most-populous county.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration that every bed is full," said Steve Aslinger, director of facilities planning at Northside Hospital. "There is a big turnover every day. When patients leave their beds, they're easily filled right behind. That's the pressure we feel to get this project underway and completed."

About 30 miles away, Wellstar Health System recently closed its Atlanta Medical Center in Old Fourth Ward. That is expected to put pressure on nearby Grady Hospital. It's unclear if the closure has affected patient volume at Northside Hospital Gwinnett, Aslinger said, but it's possible.

To temporarily relieve capacity, Northside Hospital Gwinnett is converting an extended-care facility into a nursing unit with beds. It's also improving the efficiency of discharging patients who no longer need to stay in a bed. A 30-bed observation unit added to the emergency department will likely remain in place.

"There used to be a cycle in the summertime when [hospitals] got a chance to breathe, renovate and paint," Aslinger said. "Since Covid-19, we haven't seen that. Volumes have been consistent."

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