NICHOLASVILLE — Thursday's official groundbreaking on the $11 million Trinity Healthcare Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Center in Jessamine County was a month behind the real groundbreaking, as bulldozers continued to plow ground for a geriatric and wellness care campus.
In the last 33 days, 8,000 feet of sewer and water lines have been laid, complex developer Dallas Murphy said. Also, two stoplights have been installed along U.S. 27 to regulate traffic in the construction zone.
Crews are working "at lightning speed," Murphy said, "to get this dream done."
"The dream" is a 38-acre, $65 million medical campus on Danville Road, of which the new center will be a part.
The dream began seven years ago, Murphy said, when his friend Kent Mays looked out across Murphy's new Memorial Sports Complex ballfields and told the entrepreneur that the rest of his 178 acres would "be a great place for a senior living center."
The first part of the medical campus, a 52-residence (studios to suites) assisted living center, should be finished in January.
The part launched Thursday — a center for ambulatory care, a 24-hour emergency room and a diagnostic center — should be completed by early fall next year, Murphy said.
The center is designed to bring Jessamine County-area residents more medical services closer to home, said Michael Karpf, executive vice president of health affairs for University of Kentucky Healthcare. The university is a partner in the center.
Gov. Steve Beshear, on hand for the ceremony, called the project "forward-thinking," especially in light of numbers he's seen that suggest that there will be 1.3 million Kentuckians over 60 by 2030.
The medical campus will ultimately include 65 independent living patio homes, a 40,000-square-foot medical office building, and a wellness and rehabilitation center. All of that, says Murphy, should be complete with 19 months.
Beshear noted that while construction jobs will be provided during those months, he was particularly pleased that an additional 175 will be permanently added to the Jessamine County rolls after the project is completed.
Near the end of Thursday's groundbreaking, Murphy, a Lafayette High School grad and former Nicholasville police officer, said that when he was done here, he might try to replicate the medical-campus concept in other Kentucky towns.
Still, he said he would "do my best to take care of the elders of Jessamine County. To first and foremost, do what's right."
He then called upon the person who he said had been his closest confidante in all things to help turn the sod: His 70-year-old father.