- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) - The expansion of a northern Alabama hospital has broken ground.

Developers broke ground Tuesday on a 20,000-square-foot vertical expansion of Cullman Regional Medical Center, Al.com (https://bit.ly/2hVzqFk) reported. An additional 30 beds will be added to allow the hospital to employ another 100 people.

The project cost $14 million, the Cullman Times reported.

Developers are planning to complete the project by early next year. A fifth level will be added to the patient tower on the east wing to increase the availability of private rooms, decrease wait times for beds and the emergency room along with patient safety.

“When I first received the call asking for support, I said, ‘Anything that’s for Cullman growing, I’m for it,’” State of Alabama Certificate of Need Board Chairman Neal Morrison said at the groundbreaking, according to a press release. “This is my community and I’m always happy to support any projects that can help growth.”

The Cullman hospital serves a six-county area. The Cullman Times reports that inpatient visits have increased more than 7 percent, while outpatient has gone up 2 percent. Another $3 million in additional outpatient facilities are planned to start this year, the newspaper reported.

The Birmingham-based Doster Construction Company is the contractor on the project. The company has worked on numerous health projects including a HealthSouth Hospital in New Jersey and a $23 million VA clinic in Florida.

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