Dorchester Co. to spend $2.5M to convert vacant detention center into urgent care facility

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 2:52 PM EDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 7:53 PM EDT
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ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County will be spending over $2 million to convert a former detention center in St. George into an urgent medical care facility to address a lack of healthcare in the rural parts of the county.

The former female detention center stands at the corner of Sears Street and Northwest Railroad Avenue and has been vacant since 2020.

The county has set aside $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and has applied for a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be used toward the conversion.

Currently, there are no 24-hour urgent care facilities in the St. George area, so neighbors have to drive to Walterboro or Summerville to get immediate medical help once physicians’ offices close at 5 p.m.

Dorchester County Councilmember Harriet Holman said the facility will be able to accommodate X-Rays, CT scans and MRIs. She adds there will also be an on-site pharmacy and will be able to give out COVID-19 vaccines.

“We looked at the detention center, and it looked like it was going to be the perfect place and the location to put this facility, this urgent care facility,” Holman said. “Whenever you have an urgent care need, [driving to Walterboro or Summerville] is too far. We have kids that play sports here that if they get injured on the field and it’s after hours, the doctors are no longer here, the urgent care would be a great facility to go to.”

St. George Councilmember the Rev. Betty Collins said the town has been looking to add a 24-hour urgent care to the area since the mid-2010s.

Holman estimates the conversion will be done by the end of 2023.

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