COLUMBUS – Mercer University School of Medicine’s new Columbus campus facility earned first-place honors in the 2022 AGC Build Georgia Awards.

General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie will accept the award during AGC Georgia’s annual convention June 9-12 at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa.

The 77,000-square-foot, two-story facility set on an iconic riverfront locale in uptown Columbus received one of six first-place awards in this year’s competition, which celebrates AGC Georgia member projects that represent the best the construction industry has to offer by both general and specialty contractors.

Winning projects demonstrate excellence in the following criteria: exceptional project safety performance, overcoming the challenges of a difficult project, innovation in construction techniques and materials, excellence in project management and scheduling, and dedication to client service and customer care.

Award recipients are featured in a special construction-focused supplement in the Atlanta Business Chronicle each June.

“Brasfield & Gorrie certainly deserved this award,” said James S. Netherton, Ph.D., executive vice president for administration and finance at Mercer. “This project was done completely during the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying supply chain issues, and there were also major site issues. Nevertheless, it was finished ahead of schedule, which was critical to opening school for the spring semester, and the quality of work was exceptional. This building and the future doctors who study there will be a great blessing to Georgia, particularly with regard to rural health.”

The state-of-the-art education and research facility, which opened its doors to medical students in January, is the result of a public-private partnership between the Columbus community, the state of Georgia and the University.

Two local companies – W.C. Bradley Co. and TSYS, a Global Payments company – offered up sites for the new campus, and local donors raised almost $14 million, which was matched by the University and backed by operational funding from the state.

The initial plan was to renovate an existing building on 11th Street in downtown Columbus that was to be given by the W.C. Bradley Co. But Mercer Trustee Brad Turner, a retired W.C. Bradley executive, became aware of the potential of a riverfront property in uptown Columbus owned by TSYS. Turner connected the University with Troy Woods, CEO of TSYS, and the company donated the property.

“The Columbus medical school campus and building is one of the most beautiful in the state,” said Jean Sumner, M.D., FACP, dean of Mercer University School of Medicine. “The new campus will help to increase health care access in West Georgia and further the School’s mission to improve the health status in rural Georgia.”

Mercer’s involvement in Columbus dates back more than 20 years when the School began sending third-year medical students to do clinical rotations with local physicians and with then Columbus Regional Hospital.

In 2012, Mercer started offering clinical education to third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus, establishing the University’s third medical school campus in partnership with Midtown Medical Center (now Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital) and St. Francis Hospital and admitting a total of 12 students.

The new facility allows the campus to scale up operations in the coming years, ultimately resulting in the graduation of 60 new physicians each year, matching the number produced by the School of Medicine on each of its other two campuses in Macon and Savannah.

Associated General Contractors of Georgia Inc. (AGC Georgia) is the statewide trade association of choice for commercial construction professionals and the industry at large. AGC Georgia is one of 89 chapters of Associated General Contractors of America that represent more than 26,000 firms nationwide.

About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened additional four-year M.D. campuses in Savannah in 2008 and in Columbus in 2021. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Centers in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences in Macon and a master’s degree in family therapy in Macon and Atlanta.