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Case Study : Healthcare :

Piedmont Athens Regional, Facility Master Plan Validation and Development

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After their acquisition of Athens Regional Medical Center, Piedmont Healthcare wanted to ensure that the newly assimilated hospital would match their excellent standard of care upheld since 1905. Now known as Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center (PAR), the campus is a 360-bed acute care non-profit hospital and regional referral center serving a 17-county service area in northeast Georgia.

An existing Facility Master Plan detailed a capital project that would add 228,691 square feet of space and renovate another 262,436 square feet of hospital space, while also calling for improvements to vehicular and pedestrian circulation around the campus. In part of the hospital called Prince 1, the plan removed a four-story tower – including the hospital’s oldest, century-old portion – and replace it with a new seven-story tower. Half of an adjacent six-story tower called Prince 2, was to be renovated. Upon completion, the new tower would backfill existing vacated space and refresh existing nursing units.

Piedmont Healthcare agreed to put $325 million in capital spending into PAR when it acquired the hospital and enlisted the program management services of BDR to oversee their projects, so they could streamline board approval for funding and swiftly complete the LOI and CON process. The expansion became a critical part of PAR’s plan to continue serving the community with a modernized and efficient facility.

BDR Solution

BDR had two months to prepare an updated master facility plan to present to the board in August 2017. Starting with the known elements of a $156 million program budget and a bed license for 359 beds, BDR created a list of goals and objectives to form a three-prong approach to maximize efficiency when evaluating the FMP.

The first was to validate scope and engage project stakeholders for awareness and buy-in in creating an implementation plan. In support of this initiative, BDR arranged a series of stakeholder interviews. BDR team members also did a thorough walkthrough of the campus to gather a detailed analysis of the facilities. A list of highlights and common themes was developed to make sure the preexisting project scope was comprehensive. Common themes included concerns regarding the age of facilities, centralized relocations of certain departments, and the determination of what departments needed to be in the hospital or adjacent to the facility.

The next step entailed identifying risks through due diligence, establishing a bed count, and creating an actionable plan to further refine and create confidence in the plan.

The final prong was to prepare and submit a coordinated Certificate-of-Need (CON) package to the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH). In doing so, BDR needed to validate the schedule and budget. This included the development of floorplans, equipment lists, schedules, and budgets in parallel with the validation process. A high-level timeline, as well as a detailed phasing plan, were created.

Upon inspection of the budget, BDR found that it would require a nearly 25% project cost increase to afford all program elements within the FMP. To get the project back to its $156 million budget, BDR recommended eliminating atrium infills, to fund backfills separately, and defer build-out of upper “shell” floors. Further opportunities for more than $20 million in cost savings were also identified to maximize the program. After financial projects were solidified, two cost reduction scenarios were presented to PAR to keep the project within the anticipated budget.


Following the MFP analysis and validation, PAR was prepared to approach the Piedmont Board for funding. On March 13, PAR filed a letter of intent with the Georgia DCH and shortly thereafter submitted a fine-tuned CON package. BDR was hired on as the Program Manger of the project, to continue the diligent work they prepared during the planning and evaluation process. Currently, the team is within the preconstruction phase of the project, finalizing design of the enabling projects and the tower.

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