Local News

Louisburg Residents Resist Plans to Move Hospital to Youngsville

Posted February 28, 2007 5:39 p.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2007 6:57 p.m. EST

— Youngsville may soon be home to a state-of-the-art hospital. But the change would mean the downsizing of the Franklin Regional Medical Center, leaving some nearby residents frustrated and gearing up to fight the move.

For 55 years, the hospital on U.S. Highway 401 in Louisburg has treated patients in Franklin and surrounding counties. But if hospital administrators have their way, a 50-acre plot of land at the corner of U.S. Highway 1 and N.C. Highway 96 will be the sight of the new facility. They said it would better serve the needs of the growing population in the Youngsville area.

“We feel like we do a great job on this campus in Louisburg,” said spokesman Brian Gwyn. “We feel like we can have a higher level of health care by getting to a larger facility with room to grow.”

In recent years, the medical center said they have seen a drop in market share of patients. And with their limited eight-acre building, they are not able to compete with hospitals in Wake County.

Louisburg native Ralph Knott has vowed to fight the move.

“I know they need to make money,” Knott said. “I know that's the bottom line. But if they want to do medical service, they can do it here.”

Knott is spearheading a grassroots effort to keep the hospital on U.S. Highway 401. So far, he’s collected 2,000 signatures in a town of 3,500.

Still, Knott said he knows it will be an uphill battle. The new $90 million complex would include all private rooms, better amenities and close to 30 more doctors.

“A pretty, modern, high-tech physical plant really gives patient impression that their care is good and that they are comfortable in the facilty,” Gwyn said.

The new plans would convert the current hospital into an urgent care facility. The state is reviewing that suggestion, which could take several months.

A public hearing on the proposal is planned. Louisburg Town Manager C.L. Gobble told WRAL that the city has hired a lawyer to help challenge the hospital's proposal.