Groundbreaking to happen next month for new Florence hospital

FLORENCE, Ala. -- It’s been five years in the making, and now a groundbreaking has been scheduled for a new hospital in Lauderdale County. RegionalCare Hospital Partners has sent out invitations for the event in early November.

The land has remained vacant for several months now. Gone are the houses, school, and even most of the utilities have been ripped out.

Five years ago RegionalCare Hospital Partners announced plans to build a 280-bed hospital in Florence. ECM Hospital officials said the lengthy delay actually helped in the planning process.

“We’ve had the opportunity to make all of the improvements and continue to make those improvements prior to the new building coming,” said Mike Howard, Chief Operating Officer of ECM Hospital.

On November 2, shovels will lift dirt on the site as a sign the project is officially underway.

RegionalCare representatives said they are investing more than $225 million into the new hospital. The local labor force will play a big part in the construction process.

“That was very top of the list on choosing contractors. We wanted somebody who was going to involve our community and local labor,” Howard explained.

Contractors plan to start moving work trailers and equipment onto the 29-acre plot of land just off Veterans Drive this week. RegionalCare officials said construction should last about two years.

The community is invited to attend the November 2nd groundbreaking ceremony which begins at 1:00 p.m.

City and county officials have not made a decision on what to do with the vacated ECM Hospital once construction is complete.