Brownwood city leaders, local professionals and Hendrick Health System officials were on hand Thursday morning as Hendrick held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for its upcoming Hendrick Medical Plaza building.   

The Hendrick Medical Plaza, to be located adjacent to the existing Hendrick Surgery Center, represents a further Brownwood expansion for the Abilene-based healthcare nonprofit. The 20,500 square-foot building is scheduled to open in spring 2019 and will include multiple physician offices, radiological services, physical therapy services, a laboratory draw station and an educational classroom space. Hendrick CEO Tim Lancaster was on hand to offer remarks and introduce guest speakers during the ceremony.   

“We’re really excited about all the plans,” Lancaster said during the ceremony. “This won’t be the last thing that we’ll do, but this will get us started on some things here in Brownwood.” Hendrick has purchased additional property around the Surgery Center and future Medical Plaza locations that may at some point be used for further construction.   

Brownwood mayor pro-tem Draco Miller, standing in for mayor Stephen Haynes, was the first guest Lancaster introduced to speak about the Medical Plaza. “It’s just a great opportunity for us here,” Miller said. “There’s always a need for good medical facilities.”   

Physician assistant Michael Cloy, who will utilize the Medical Plaza space, also spoke during the ceremony. “It’s exciting, because there hasn’t been any new construction in the medical community in Brownwood in probably 15 years,” Cloy said. “Hendrick is committed to Brownwood, I have no doubt about that. … What they’re bringing to us with this new office facility will not have been seen in this town.”   

Longtime Brownwood resident and Hendrick Board of Trustees member Paul Waldrop was the final guest speaker of the morning. “The partnership between Hendrick and Brownwood, obviously, continues to grow. Competition’s a great thing — it forces us to improve our quality, improve our services and improve our pricing,” Waldrop said. He said Hendrick’s nonprofit status and Christian affiliation make it a “unique” organization.   

“I can tell you that our board, our administrative staff and a majority of our 3,000 employees live that out in their daily life,” Waldrop said. “It makes a real difference.”   

Hendrick director of pastoral care Bruce Lampert ended the event with a closing prayer. Brownwood and Hendrick leaders then posed together for a ceremonial dirt-turning photograph, complete with hard hats and golden shovels.   

The ceremony follows the December approval of a $350,000 incentive for the Medical Plaza's completion, to be paid over five years, from the Brownwood Municipal Development District.

According to Hendrick, construction for the Medical Plaza will cost approximately $6.5 million and the building will start with 18 employees, with a potential increase to 34. The Medical Plaza is being built by Lubbock-based Teinert Construction and was designed by Abilene’s Parkhill, Smith & Cooper architects.