South Georgia Medical Center hosted a community groundbreaking celebration for the new Dasher Heart Center and 5-Story Patient Tower on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the first open heart surgery and percutaneous intervention (angioplasty) at the Dasher Heart Center at SGMC. The ceremony also marked the kick off for the $4.1 million Stories of Healing capital campaign being conducted by the SGMC Foundation to raise money for the tower’s construction. The groundbreaking event was held in the parking lot adjacent to the Outpatient Center located on Cowart Street. Dozens of former heart patients, including community benefactor Joe V. Dasher, Jr. who gave $2 million to help fund the Dasher Heart Center, many affiliated physicians, and other community dignitaries were on hand to celebrate this milestone event. The five-story, 130,000 square foot facility will cost approximately $67 million and offer: Add 96 private patient rooms Streamline all cardiology services and increase from 2 to 3 cardiac catheterization labs Increase capacity of the cardiac ICU from 8 to 24 beds Increase the capacity of the cardiac intermediate care unit from 16 to 24 beds Increase capacity of medical/surgical ICU to 24 beds Add a 24 bed medical/surgical unit Centralize patient monitoring Construct Family Support areasSGMC CEO Randy Sauls said, “The need for this facility is great. We haven’t added a patient room since the North Tower expansion was completed almost 30 years ago in 1982. Our current facilities were not designed to have the HVAC and fiber-optics that are minimum requirements for quality patient care in today’s healthcare environment.”Sauls continued, “These facilities are part of a larger commitment by the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County to create a total healing environment where every component of care is aimed at getting patients better, faster. Private rooms offer improved safety and infection control, increased customer satisfaction and numerous operational efficiencies.”Sauls went on to say that increasing numbers of patients with cardiovascular diseases are traveling from around the region to seek the excellence in cardiac care that SGMC and its affiliated physicians offer. SGMC’s commitment is to put our resources into maintaining a program that consistently ranks within the state’s top ten.Since opening the Dasher Heart Center on November 2, 2001, procedure volumes for open heart surgeries now exceed 1,595 surgeries; 5,058 percutaneous interventions; and 21,230 diagnostic catheterizations. The expanded Dasher Heart Center will occupy three floors of the new tower.The project, which is the largest in the hospital’s history, is being paid for through hospital reserve funds, bond financing, income generated by operations, and the support of community members through philanthropy. The estimated date of completion for the new tower is November, 2013.For more information, contact Community Relations at 229.259.4420.