University of Alabama at Birmingham: New Cooper Green facility gains final approval to begin construction

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The Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority has received final approval from the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System to move forward with plans to replace the current building with a state-of-the-art medical clinic. Construction on the new building should begin this winter. It will be built on the site of the former Cooper Green parking deck, which was demolished earlier this year. The new five-story building will be 207,000 square feet with an overall estimated cost of $120 million.

Under an agreement between Jefferson County and the UAB Health System, the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority was created to manage Cooper Green in April 2020. The authority will construct a modern and improved facility to replace the current building, which dates to the early 1970s. The current building is costly to maintain and no longer suited to the efficient delivery of modern ambulatory health care.

“We are building a first-class medical facility to serve the residents of Jefferson County,” said David Randall, chief strategy officer for the UAB Health System and board president and CEO of the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority. “Jefferson County leadership and UAB are committed to providing the highest-quality health care for Cooper Green patients, and this new facility is an important step to achieve that goal.”

The Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority provides high-quality health care to all residents of Jefferson County, regardless of ability to pay. It is a full-service ambulatory care facility that includes primary and specialty care clinics, urgent care, physical, occupational and speech therapy, laboratory services, imaging, and pharmacy.

“We are excited to know that the next stage of Cooper Green’s long service to Jefferson County is moving forward,” said Cal Markert, Jefferson County manager. “The collaboration between the county and the UAB Health System has brought us to this pivotal moment, and we’re thrilled we will soon be able to offer our patients a truly world-class medical facility.”

The building will feature new equipment, and includes plans for a magnetic resonance imaging machine, which will ease scheduling for Cooper Green patients to get an MRI and improve access to care.

“We will be offering services to our patients in the new facility in a more patient-centered manner than we have previously been able to offer in our current building,” said Raegan Durant, M.D., medical director for Cooper Green. “But patients will also continue to see familiar faces among our staff. We will blend the best of the past 50 years of service with the benefits the new facility will bring, as we look forward to the next 50 years of caring for our patients.”

Among the building’s other amenities, an expanded rehabilitation suite will include a covered outdoor section for developing outdoor skills such as navigating curbs and different ground surfaces.

A separate phlebotomy and injection clinic will streamline laboratory visits and improve the process of vaccinations. The clinic areas will be designed to support team-based, multidisciplinary care, making clinic visits more centralized for the comfort of the patients.

The facility will also incorporate natural light throughout the building in stairwells and waiting areas. Oncology infusion suites will feature windows in each treatment room.

The new building will have a gift shop, and food service options are being explored. It will house several other professional and community services, including Cahaba Dental, the Recovery Resource Crisis Center, UAB Community Psychiatry and the UAB School of Nursing PATH clinic.

Cooper Green will continue to operate as normal as an outpatient clinic at 1515 6th Avenue South. Urgent care is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and clinics are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To get connected with Cooper Green, call 205-930-3377.

Cooper Green was first called Mercy Hospital when it opened in 1972 as a 319-bed acute care hospital, owned by Jefferson County and providing medical services to all residents of the county regardless of their ability to pay. In 1975, it was renamed to honor former Birmingham mayor Cooper Green. Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority is now an affiliate of the UAB Health System.

The general contractor on the project is Brasfield & Gorrie. The architect is Gresham Smith.

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