FOLEY – An ambulatory surgery center is planned in Foley near the site of the expanding South Baldwin Regional Medical Center.

The Foley Planning Commission voted in its March meeting to recommend approval of the project. The proposal will now go to the Foley City Council for final approval at a future date.

The center will be built by Community Health Services, which operates South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. The new facility will be located on a 1.5-acre site on North Alston Street.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said construction on the center is expected to start later this year.

“This is very critical,” he said. “It will allow people to receive outpatient services. It allows the expansion of surgery opportunities. This is another development that has more doctors looking to move to Foley.”

The SBRMC is conducting a $250-million expansion project that will increase the hospital’s capacity to 142 beds. 

In 2023, the Foley City Council created a medical overlay district in the area around the SBRMC. The district will support the expansion of services in the area around the growing hospital. 

Proposed services in the district would include hospital support, clinics, therapy facilities, pharmacies and other health-care facilities. Additional uses could include medical facilities such as residential care centers and assisted living sites.

In addition to the surgery center, a medical office park is also planned in the overlay district. That park has been proposed to be constructed on a 14-acre site on Fern Avenue east of Alabama 59. The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of that project in February.

The Fern Avenue project will also go to the City Council for final approval.

Hellmich said the district, expanded hospital and projects such as the surgery center and medical offices, will bring more specialists and other medical services to Foley.

“Now, folks who live in South Baldwin and Foley won’t have to drive to Mobile or Pensacola, We may be able to see somebody right here in Foley,” Hellmich said. “We’ll have a Class A hospital, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, that is rated as one of the best hospitals in Alabama.”