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  • LOCATION Canton, Georgia
  • CLIENT Caruso + Drye Design Group
  • CHALLENGE Interior and Exterior Sign Packages Totaling $920,000

In 1962 the population of Cherokee County, Georgia was slowly growing at about 25,000 people. That was the year that the R.T. Jones Memorial Hospital opened its doors. The hospital had 62 semi-private rooms and seventeen doctors on staff. But Cherokee County was not to remain a small, remote, North Georgia community. In the decades that followed growth took off, with population increases often passing 50% from one census to the next. The original hospital expanded, the staff grew, but it couldn’t keep up. Today, Cherokee county is home to over a 230,000 people. A new state-of-the-art hospital was necessary, and construction of the new Northside Hospital Cherokee began in the spring of 2015. It opened its door just over two years later, and additional phases of expansion are still underway.

We were not the low bidder on this project, but we have worked on several of the Northside properties around Atlanta, and I would guess hundreds of Caruso+Drye projects over the years. Northside knew the logistics of this project, as well as some of the engineering challenges, were critical.

They preferred to pay a bit more to make sure they partnered with a company with a proven track record on large complex projects. Our scope included the stone and aluminum entry and wayfinding signage, exterior building signs, freestanding lighted column signs, parking deck traffic flow, DOT regulatory, as well as the interior signage in the medical office building, Cancer Institute, and Infusion Center.

Because of the structural demands of the building, and the sign’s unique lighting, we assisted Caruso + Drye with the engineering of the large main building ID. Their creative work on projects of this type is second to none, and they know they can count on us to help them work through complex structural and electrical challenges without compromising their design intent or blowing their client’s budget.

Several challenges face any rural community as it becomes part of a major metropolitan area. Some of that impacted our work at Northside Cherokee. The local Planning and Zoning authority had never dealt with a project of this scale and wasn’t familiar with the best practices for sign permitting in such a case. Caruso + Drye are expert in this type of project and took point, with our minor assistance, on advising the city in revising their sign codes.

Another area that proved challenging was Georgia Power’s as-builts. We re-engineered some of our footing designs as many as three times to adapt to new and surprising utility locates, and resorted to hydro excavation in some locations to avoid cutting what might or might not have turned out to be underground.

Through all of this it was imperative we maintain our schedule: opening day was set in stone. As the new facility opened, the old hospital simultaneously closed. Needless to say, redirecting emergency traffic for a community of a quarter million takes considerable pre-planning, as does moving doctors, supplies, equipment and patients, some of them critically ill, between the two facilities. Months of logistical planning were not going to be scrapped over bad utility locates, fabrication glitches, weather, or anything else not life-threatening.

By the day of the changeover, we were ready. We had multiple crews at both the old and new locations and at 5:00 AM on May 6th, 2017, we covered the old signage and uncovered the new. Northside Hospital Cherokee opened the doors on its new $280 million, 700,000 square foot campus. In their first 100 days the average daily patient care increased 25%, they had delivered 5% more babies and had over 18% more emergency room visits. For the foreseeable future at least, Cherokee County is in good hands.

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Henry took a lot of the mystery and heartburn away from the usual process by keeping us continually informed, reacting quickly to ever changing requirements, and managing the entire process in a professional manner. The quality of your products is first class, and your preconstruction and project management capabilities are just as good.


I would not hesitate to use Henry, Incorporated again and would enthusiastically recommend them to my clients and colleagues. I’d be happy to talk further with anyone that has questions.

— Joe Collins, President
Collins Project Management, Owners Rep