COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Wednesday, May 18, leaders of the community joined together for a groundbreaking ceremony announcing the construction of a new 40-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital in north Columbus.

The new location is expected to be done in a year, and will sit on the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Cooper Creek Road in north Columbus.

Current Administrator of Rehabilitation Services for Piedmont Columbus Regional Kendra Sermarini has been named as the Future CEO of the hospital. She credits more than a decade of experience with Piedmont in preparing her for this upcoming position.

“We’re excited to break ground today, and we’re excited about the expansion of our joint venture between Piedmont and Encompass Health. My experience working for Piedmont for more than the last decade in both clinical and administrative roles has prepared me to take on the role of CEO at this new rehab hospital,” Sermarini shares.

The hospital will provide access to patients and families in the Columbus area who need intensive rehabilitative care including patients suffering from different disabilities and illnesses like strokes, hip fracture, spinal cord injury, brain injury and other debilitating illnesses.

President of the South-Central Region for Encompass Health Brad Kennedy tells News 3 this location in addition to the one in Phenix City will provide greater access to the people in the Columbus area.

“We already have a hospital across the river as a partnership between Encompass Health and Piedmont. It’s a 58-bed hospital in Phenix City, Alabama. So, by adding this hospital to the partnership, we provide even greater access to people in the Columbus area who need our care,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy went on to say this hospital will be a place where patients can regain hope and independence to lead a better quality of life.

Mayor Skip Henderson was in attendance, and spoke at the ceremony explaining his excitement and gratitude to all who made this project possible.

“Before I start and talk about just how thrilled we are to see this facility I have to take a point of privilege to say a public thank you to Piedmont… The job that that organization did in conjunction with others in helping us navigate some of the incredible challenges we have had to navigate over the last three years, we simply couldn’t have done it if we hadn’t had the quality leadership of Piedmont. So thank you very publicly. I want to thank you for all that you’ve meant to our community… But as far as this facility, I’m excited for the people that it will serve. We’ve had access to to rehabilitation clinics throughout our communities, but to have this out of this area is is going to be a game changer for us… So on behalf of those citizens and the nearly 207,000 that reside here in Columbus, thank you,” Mayor Henderson shares.