Sandhills Medical Breaks Ground for New Sumter Facility

Source: The Sumter Item
Published: August 15, 2020
Article Author: Shelbie Goulding
CIMS Partner Center: Sandhills Medical Foundation

After outgrowing its first facility, Sandhills Medical Foundation broke ground at its new Sumter location on Thursday.

Originally located at 425 N. Salem Ave., the nonprofit community health center moved to 30 Cuttino Road so it can better serve patients in the area.

Sandhills Medical is federally qualified as a community health center, which is a community-based and patient-directed organization that serves populations with limited access to health care. These include low-income populations, the uninsured, those with limited English proficiency, migrant and seasonal farm workers, individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those living in public housing.

“Our No. 1 commitment is making sure that everyone in our four-county area, which is Chesterfield, Lancaster, Kershaw and Sumter, has access to health care and affordable health care,” said Christopher Dixon, CEO of Sandhills Medical Foundation.

The mission of Sandhills Medical Foundation is to be responsive to community health care needs by providing quality, comprehensive and cost-effective health care, Dixon said. The new facility is meant to help Sandhills Medical fulfill its mission to the Sumter community.

“We have been planning this building for about five years, been trying to build it for two,” Dixon said. “It will be a well-rounded asset to this community.”

The new 12,150-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will feature more than the property on Salem Avenue.

According to David Roberts, director of community development with Sandhills Medical, Architect Trey Riggan with Jeff Lewis AIA said the facility will have 18 exam rooms, six provider offices, one treatment room, seven other offices, a pharmacy with a drive-through, a central nurse station, a lab with blood draw, a patient education room and typical support areas like check in and out stations, storage, restrooms, electrical rooms and more.

Besides adding more space, Dixon said they will also be providing several services at the new Sumter location, including a full-service pharmacy, behavioral health, infectious disease, family practice, pediatrics and more.

Dixon said they are also planning to expand the new facility in the future. Riggan said the second phase will double the square footage and essentially double the number of exam rooms.

Before the Cuttino Road location, Sandhills wanted to build the new facility at 260 N. Bultman Drive behind Sumter Mall, but the site was determined undevelopable because of its wet nature and water on the property.

However, Dixon said he is pleased to have the property on Cuttino Road because it is close to Central Carolina Technological College and the hospital, where they plan to partner with student nurses.

“We’re very committed to working with our partners, our communities, our hospitals,” Dixon said. “It’s really important that we all work together in our communities.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Dixon said the federal, state and local governments played an influential and supportive role in the rebuilding process by providing state and federal grants to expand their services and locations in the four-county area.

“Without the support of our federal and state and local politicians, none of these things that we do would be possible,” Dixon said. “All of those people know what we do. They knew who we are, and they are huge supporters of Sandhills.”

In attendance for the ceremony was Sumter County Council Chairman Jim McCain and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, who Dixon said has supported the process since the beginning.

“I’ve taken an interest in this. Right after I got elected, I came down here,” Norman said. “If you want to see something, go to the business itself. See the people. And at Sandhills, you see the patients there. It’s moving. It really is.”

Norman said Sandhills Medical has impacted South Carolinians with reasonable prices and much-needed services.

“As nice as this building is, it’s the people inside that make it what it is,” Norman said. “I just appreciate all the workers, the doctors. You don’t do this for the money. You do this because it’s a call.”

Near the end of the ceremony, Norman presented Paul Napper, board chair at Sandhills Medical Foundation, with a congressional coin, a certificate to commemorate the groundbreaking and an American flag that flew over the state capitol.