The Northeast Georgia Health System is settling into its new long-term health care center, once the home of the longtime Lanier Park Hospital.
“It’s very nice. The hardest thing for the staff is they have so much space,” said Gail Patrick, administrator of New Horizons Lanier Park. “They’re going to get a pill (for a patient) and they’re on the other end of the building.”
“The other end of the building is a whole lot farther than it used to be,” said Henry Roberts, long-term care director.
Residents and workers alike are able to stretch a little more at the 54,400-square-foot center off Beverly and White Sulphur roads in Gainesville.
Opening in October, the center replaced the cramped, 36-year-old New Horizons West home off Dawsonville Highway near Jackson Electric Membership Corp.
The old center, in the middle of a burgeoning commercial area, has since been torn down, Roberts said.
The move to new digs culminated a $7.2 million conversion of Lanier Park Hospital’s former inpatient section into the new 118-bed long-term care center, which is “staying very close to full capacity,” Roberts said.
The facility features semiprivate and private rooms, each with its own restroom and cable TV, as well as a cafeteria, dining room, beauty salon and activity room.
One big difference is the size of the physical therapy room.
“We’ve got a lot more space,” Patrick said. “We kind of did this in our hallway (at New Horizons West).”
Sylvia Vasquez Bennett, a resident as well as an employee at the center, was getting help with walking in the therapy room Monday afternoon.
So far, she is impressed with her new surroundings.
“It’s wonderful. I’ve been working (for New Horizons) for 12 years and this is like a family to me,” said Bennett, who is recovering from the devastating effects of a nerve-related disease.
“I would go no place but here.”
Lanier Park Hospital originally opened under different ownership in June 1977. In 2000, the health system bought Lanier Park from Nashville-based HCA-The Healthcare Co.
Northeast Georgia opened its North Patient Tower in April 2009, shutting down Lanier Park’s inpatient facility.
Hospital officials looked to Lanier Park as they began considering replacing New Horizons West.
The former inpatient section was a one-story building with readily available parking and in a location familiar to many longtime residents.
Naming the new center was tied to history — Lanier Park’s legacy and New Horizons as a longtime brand in the community.
“It was a natural fit,” Roberts said.
The health system also operates another long-term care center, New Horizons Limestone, formerly known as New Horizons North. The center, which is at 2020 Beverly Road, or at the corner of Beverly Road and Limestone Parkway, was built in 1985.