Surgical center to open in early December

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

VIDALIA &045;&045; Riverpark Medical Center is set to open for patients the first or second week in December with a grand opening ceremony to be held a week or so after that, according to one of the project’s principals.

&uot;We’re going to start to move equipment (into the facility) over the week of Thanksgiving,&uot; said Dr. John White, who was set to tour the center this week to see what last-minute touch-ups must be done.

Although a specific date has not been set for the event, the grand opening will include a ribbon cutting and &uot;behind-the-scenes&uot; tours of the facility, White said.

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White is partnering with Drs. Rus Fairbanks, Randy and Barry Tillman and others on the ambulatory surgical center, which was originally expected to open in early November at the Vidalia Landing riverfront site.

Riverpark, which will able to handle surgeries that do not require overnight stays, will include doctors’ offices upstairs and an imaging center with MRI and CT scans downstairs.

&uot;We’re going to bring a new level of diagnostic experience&uot; to the Miss-Lou, White said.

The storing of information, and the sharing of that data with other physicians as needed, will also be high-tech, he said.

&uot;We will be able to get that information, via secure Web sites or CD’s, to referring doctors,&uot; White said.

According to White, such centers are already a trend throughout the United States. &uot;In Baton Rouge right now, they have three ambulatory surgery centers,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a nationwide trend.&uot;

Riverpark Medical Center will be only the latest development to make its home on the Vidalia bank of the Mississippi River.

Others have included a walking path, an amphitheater, Lorraine’s Restaurant and a Comfort Suites Hotel north of the river bridge and an RV Park south of the bridge.

Last month ground was broken for the $3.5 million Vidalia Gateway and Welcome Center that will be located north of the bridge near the surgical center.

Construction of that center is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2005.