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Level One trauma center expanding

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Plans are in the works to expand Memorial Heath's Emergency and Level One Trauma Center.

Crews broke ground Wednesday outside the emergency department where 15,000 additional square feet will be added.  

Local convenience store chain owner Greg Parker announced that his company is donating a million dollars to the $15 million project.

"Unlike some hospitals, Memorial Health takes care of everyone and at Parker's, we serve everyone," announced Parker.  

The new addition to the hospital will not be offering chewy ice or an area to fill up your car, but the name of the facility will be Parker's Emergency and Trauma Center.

Among things now carrying the Parker's name, there is now a Parker's Level One Trauma Center. It's an unexpected combination but Greg Parker said he wouldn't want it any other way.

"We are so happy about it because the footprint where Memorial's patients come from is the footprint where Parker's customers come from," said Parker.  

The new space will allow the hospital to accommodate nearly 100,000 people who come through the emergency room a year.

Right now the existing emergency room is designed to only serve about 40,000.

"The need for emergency services and the growth in the level one trauma services has just continued year after year after year," said President & CEO of Memorial Health University Medical Center Maggie Gill.

Gill said it's been more than a decade since the last time they expanded their emergency department. Since then, they've outgrown their space.

The new facility will be able to serve nearly 120,000 patients a year, nearly doubling the amount of emergency treatment areas.

"We will be adding trauma rooms and relocating some services to make them more convenient," said Gill.

The plan is to build the new addition first, then renovate the current emergency room.

Officials said the project will be done in four different phases, but Gill said this will not affect their current emergency services or patient care.

"The community should see no change to the services provided," said Gill.  

With this being the only level one trauma center in the area, this expansion project will be a vital part of saving even more lives.

"It's the only Level One trauma centerin this part of Georgia, so we are all impacted by it, and it was the mostmeaningful thing that we could think of to do to contribute and to give backinto our community," said Parker.

"Our service area is very broad so we want to be able to continue to invest in the resources that we need to live up to our mission to be a level one trauma center," said Gill.

Officials said they plan to have this project complete my 2016.

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