DARLINGTON, S.C. (WBTW) — Genesis Health broke ground Monday on a new expansion in Darlington.

In a groundbreaking ceremony, staff members picked up their shovels and tossed the dirt. However, for many who attended, it was more than a groundbreaking, but a step in the right direction.

“Our patient base has been growing and quite frankly have run out of room,” Dr. Alexander Cohens said.

In the span of 31 years, Cohens has seen Pee Dee Health Care grow to what is now Genesis. He said he hopes the 28,000 square footage expansion sends a message to current patients and those to come.

“We’re here for them. We’ve always been here for them and this will continue in the future as we grow.”

This expansion will give the doctors and nurses the ability to serve on a larger scale and bring in 20 plus jobs.

“It is absolutely the greatest thing for our community and beyond all vases beyond your health with families and services they do with transportation. It is so many things that I could outline that they have grown,” Darlington City Councilwoman Elaine Reed said.

Phase 1 is anticipated to be completed by Oct. 1, 2022 and will cost around $10 million, including the expansion of an additional 28,000 square feet for the site along with a new parking lot.

“The second phase of our renovation will be to take the existing location and update it as well and bring it up to par with the new building,” said Howard Nettles, director of community outreach and recruiting at Genesis.

Phase 2 will immediately follow, including the movement of the site’s pharmacy, the addition of a space for ill patients and expansion of the health care center as a whole to accommodate more patients. Phase 2 of the Pee Dee Health Care expansion is estimated to cost approximately $2 million.

Genesis’ Pee Dee Health Care provides a wide variety of health care services to Darlington and its surrounding community. For more information on Genesis and its services, visit www.genesisfqhc.org.