Shepherd Center plans $48 million expansion

Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in care for patients with catastrophic injuries and illnesses, plans a $48 million expansion that will nearly double the size of the Buckhead facility.

The Shepherd expansion joins a recent building boom among metro Atlanta hospitals as the area’s population continues to surge.

Organizations planning large projects include Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, with a $344 million proposal, and WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, which has a $93 million expansion plan.

Any major hospital construction project must get a state license, or certificate of need. Shepherd has filed a certificate-of-need application with the state Department of Community Health.

Gary Ulicny, president and chief executive, said he does not anticipate any opposition to the plan.

“About 85 percent of Georgians who get a spinal injury come here,” he said.

Nonprofit Shepherd Center specializes in care and Rehabilitation of people with paralyzing spinal cord injuries and diseases, acquired brain injuries, Multiple Sclerosis and other neuromuscular problems.


Shepherd’s beds are constantly filled, said Ulicny. He said Shepherd has been forced to turn away more than 200 patients in the past 18 months. The increased demand for services includes patients from outside the Southeast.

The project will raise the number of hospital beds at Shepherd from 100 to 120 and eliminate four-bed wards. It also will reduce the number of two-bed rooms, consolidate outpatient facilities and create more office space.

“It will give us a great deal of flexibility in where we put patients,” Ulicny said.

The goal, he added, is to have only private and semiprivate rooms for patients.

Shepherd said groundbreaking is expected in June, and construction will take two years. The project will be financed through existing reserves, bond issues and funds raised during Shepherd’s 25th anniversary capital campaign.

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