The University Hospital Board of Directors voted Thursday to appropriate roughly $2.7 million to build a prompt care facility on Silver Bluff Road in Aiken.

The 7,000-square-foot facility will cater to patients whose primary care physician is unavailable and those who have a non-life-threatening injury or illness that does not require a trip to the emergency room, according to University Hospital spokesperson Rebecca Sylvester.

Its staff will be able to perform lab work and minor ultrasound and radiological tests.

University Hospital has similar prompt care facilities in Evans and Grovetown, Georgia.

“We feel like this will be well received, well used,” Sylvester said. “This would fill the greatest need in that area.”

About six years ago, University Hospital bought land on Silver Bluff Road with the intention of building a medical office complex across the road from the Centre South Shopping Center.

At the outset, the project consisted of three medical buildings totaling 72,000 square feet. But, concept plans met resistance from Aiken City Council, which had concerns about zoning and the complex's impact on traffic.

“We haven't done anything with that property since we bought it,” Sylvester said. “This is a prime piece of property.”

The prompt care facility will employ a minimum of 10 people, comprised of one physician and several physician assistants and nurse practitioners, she added.

Facility plans must be approved by the Aiken Planning Commission and then City Council.

University Hospital is actively pursuing building its presence in Aiken.

In April, it was announced that the hospital is considering plans to build an 88-bed, 86,000-square-foot assisted living facility in The Village at Woodside; in July, Aiken County Planning and Development confirmed it has on file a development permit for University for a new, 50-bed medical center with emergency wing near USC Aiken and Aiken Regional Medical Centers.