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NEW ALBANY, MISS. (WCBI) – An overflow crowd gathered in the parking lot, next to the future home of the new emergency room.

They were observing what one speaker called a new chapter in the history of Baptist Memorial Hospital Union County, the groundbreaking of a new 12 million dollar emergency department.

“It will increase emergency services in the area, we will be able to see more patients than we currently see, be able to provide services we currently are not providing,” said Walter Grace, hospital administrator.

The 22,000 square building will increase exam rooms from 7 to 22. It will also feature two trauma rooms and two triage areas.

Administrators pointed out the project is long overdue. During the past three years, the number of ER visits at Baptist Union County has increase by 20 percent.

The new ER will reduce wait time and marks the largest construction project in years for the hospital.

Also, the project is expected to be a recruitment tool for families, new industries and businesses.

“Industry, one of the first questions they ask is about health care and we don’t have to back up to anybody, really in the country on healthcare,” New Albany Mayor Tim Kent said.

During the ceremony a local pastor described the new ER as a refuge that will help many hurting people. Construction should start in the next 30 days, the project will be finished in about 10 months.

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