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Shepherd Center Kicks Off $9.8 Million Renovation

ATLANTA - (April 1, 2009) - Shepherd Center has begun a $9.8 million renovation and remodeling project that will create more private rooms for patients, add a second brain injury unit, and reconfigure and remodel various units in the Center.

The building project comes one year after Shepherd Center wrapped up a $53 million expansion that nearly doubled the size of the hospital and celebrated the opening of its new $16 million Irene and George Woodruff Family Residence Center that provides temporary housing for families of patients so they can be near their loved one during rehabilitation.

The first phase of the new renovation project will convert more than 35,000 square feet of currently empty space on the fifth floor of the Marcus-Woodruff Building into the new Spinal Cord Injury Unit, complete with 35 private rooms.

“The renovations will almost double the number of private rooms available for SCI patients,” says Gary Ulicny, president and CEO of Shepherd Center. “We’re eager to add private rooms because they provide a more comfortable environment for patients, plus more space and flexibility so family members can stay close by their loved ones.”

Private rooms are also a bonus for staff because they don’t have to worry about compatibility issues and infection risk when there are two or more beds in a room, said Wilma Bunch, vice president of facility services and risk manager. “The improved space will help lighten employee workloads by eliminating the need to transfer patients in and out of rooms, sometimes multiple times, to address those concerns.”

Bunch also emphasizes that the remodeling work has been carefully planned so that units and departments will move as few times as possible. When construction is complete on the fifth floor, the SCI unit that now occupies the second and third floors of the Shepherd Building will move to the fourth and fifth floor space of the Marcus-Woodruff Building.

This move is projected to occur early this fall. After the Shepherd Building’s second floor rooms are vacated, the next phase of renovation will begin in that area, which will be redesigned and converted to house an additional Acquired Brain Injury Unit.

The Neurospecialty Unit will move to the third floor of the Shepherd Building and ultimately join ABI on the second floor once its renovation is complete.

“Our long-term plan is to devote the entire second floor in both buildings to brain injury services and place all spinal cord injury rehabilitation services, including the Day Program, in close proximity on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the Marcus-Woodruff building,” Ulicny explains. “We believe the updated rooms and improved configurations will allow easier access to services and a more streamlined delivery of care."

Funding of the renovation project is not yet complete. To date, approximately $2.9 million has been raised to pay for the project. Employees kicked off the effort last year by raising almost than $80,000 with its annual ShepherdCares employee giving initiative, cleverly titled “Extreme Makeover - Shepherd Edition.

” Additionally, the Shepherd Center Auxiliary committed $50,000 to the project, allowing a newly created room to be named for the group. “Shepherd Center was founded on the gifts by donors and volunteers and continues to operate only through the support of those people today,” said Scott Sikes, vice president and executive director of the Shepherd Center Foundation. “Many of the hospital staff members’ salaries, benefits, operating budgets, and capital expenditures are funded solely through gifts. We want to thank those who generously offer their time and resources to support Shepherd Center, especially given the economic downturn.”

Those interested in making donations to the renovation project or any other Shepherd initiative may email Dean Melcher in the Foundation or call Dean at 404-350-7306.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.