Russell Medical is developing a multi-facility expansion project on its campus in Alexander City, made possible by a $25 million donation from Ben and Luanne Russell.
The gift, which is the largest in the medical center’s history, will go towards large-scale project components, which are centered on geriatric medicine and enhanced opportunities for seniors. The donation covers the cost of constructing and equipping Benjamin Russell Center for Advanced Care, which will provide comprehensive geriatric health care and specialty health care services, as well as creating the Benjamin Russell Endowed Chair in Geriatrics, pending approval of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. The endowed chair will be held by the medical director of the advanced care facility.
The Russell Legacy Project also consists of an independent living community made up of 26 single-family cottages and an assisted living facility with 32 residential units.
“Ben and Luanne’s extraordinary act of generosity reflects a caring family who are great supporters of Alexander City, the Lake Martin area and the medical community in Alabama,” said Jim Peace, president and CEO of Russell Medical. “The Russell Legacy Project allows us to grow services centered on the largest sector who are in need of healthcare services, those citizens 65 years and older. As a long-standing member of our hospital board, Mr. Russell has been instrumental in our strategic plan and steadfastly supports our vision to become a regional hub for geriatric medicine. With his family’s legacy gift, this vision will become a reality.”
The Benjamin Russell Center for Advanced Care, which is named for Ben Russell’s grandfather, will be built in front of the cancer center with frontage on Highway 280. It will house gerontology, women’s health and other specialty clinics.
Cynthia Brown, director for the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at UAB, said this gift will help fill a need. “Each day for the next 20+ years, approximately 10,000 adults will turn 65, and with this trend, the demand for geriatricians is expected to skyrocket,” said Brown. “Having an endowed chair in geriatric medicine will allow Russell Medical to recruit an outstanding geriatrician, one of only 6,500 in the nation, who can serve the older adult population of the area.”
Peace added that a groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled for late summer, with all three portions of the project expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.