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Top Story No. 10: A new hospital in Braselton
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Northeast Georgia Health System took a major step toward expansion on May 1, when the Georgia Department of Community Health granted approval for a new hospital in South Hall.

More than 1,000 people submitted letters in support of the proposal to build a 100-bed, general-service hospital off Thompson Mill Road in Braselton. The project is slated for completion in 2012, when the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to finish realigning Thompson Mill and widening Ga. 347.

Meanwhile, construction has already begun on one part of the 119-acre site, now referred to as River Place. In September, the health system received state approval to build a 100,000-square-foot medical office building and urgent care center in one corner of the property. Approval for an imaging center is still being sought.

Completion on the first phase of the project is expected in September 2008, when the Braselton Clinic, currently located just down the road, will move into the new building. A number of specialist groups are also expected to rent office space.

"This will smooth the transition to a full hospital," health system president Jim Gardner said in September. "The real key is to grow the medical staff on that campus."