Demolition of the old Cooper Green Hospital parking deck is expected to begin later this year or early next year to make way for building a new indigent care clinic in that location, officials with Jefferson County and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System announced Tuesday.
Designs for the new clinic, planned to be about 150,000 square feet, are being worked on, and those involved hope it will be ready to open in 2½ to 3 years, David Randall, chief strategy officer for the UAB Health System, said during a press conference.
The project is expected to cost between $55 million and $65 million, Randall said.
The money for the project will come from bond issues through the UAB Health Care Authority, which will be backed by Jefferson County indigent care funds and patient care revenue.
UAB essentially took over health care provided through the county’s indigent care fund last year, with operations overseen by a blended board of representatives from the county and UAB.
Tearing down the more-than-30-year-old hospital and replacing it with a new clinic has been part of that plan put in place late in 2019.
Randall said patient enrollment has doubled since UAB took over operations in 2020.
Walter Jackson, deputy county manager for human and community services with Jefferson County, underlined that the project to build a new clinic, paired with reaching out into the community with well care services, would go a long way toward fulfilling the county’s commitment to care for county residents.
He said Jefferson County and Alabama remain one of few governments in the country with a dedicated fund to serve people in the community, and partnering with a world-class health care operation should provide strong services for the community.