This is an architect’s drawing of the Marshall County Healthcare Center’s $4 million renovation project slated to begin in the coming weeks. A 5,000 square foot addition and another 6,500 square feet of completely remodeled space are all included in the project that has a planned completion date of late 2021.
4 Million Renovation Scheduled For MCHC
Marshall County Healthcare Center will undergo a $4 million facelift beginning this fall.
Approximately 6,600 square feet of existing clinic, entrance, business office, and lab space will be remodeled, and groundbreaking on a 5,000 square foot addition is planned in the upcoming weeks. Once footings are in place, work can continue throughout the winter. Plans are for the project to be fully completed by the end of 2021.
Over the past few years MCHC has spent about one million dollars in updating and renovating hospital facilities and services, and this project will continue that investment in the future of healthcare in Marshall County.
“The total project cost will be between $4-4 5 million,” said MCHC Administrator Nick Fosness. “We view it as another good investment for our communities. These improvements should benefit our patients for many years ahead.”
Despite the problems caused by COVID-19, the pandemic is really the driving force behind the renovation project. Most of the funding is planned to come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. No fundraising efforts are planned at this time.
Experience with the virus has also dictated how the new space will be set up and used. One of the big lessons learned has been the realization that separate areas are needed for those with potentially contagious symptoms (”sick” patients) and those who are seeking routine or preventative medical care (”well” patients).
Clinic Director Mandy Carlson shared, “We have learned so much from the pandemic and a big takeaway has been the importance of having separate spaces for ‘sick’ and ‘well’ patients. This remodeling project will create long-term solutions that allow for separate entrances, waiting rooms, and treatment rooms. We have been able to keep patients separated for the past six months by using an off-site facility, and we will be able to continue that practice in one location after the remodeling is complete.”
The laboratory will also be renovated and the 1,600 square foot area will be a third larger than the old lab space. The present conference room will become a reception area for both the clinic and hospital so that patients will no longer walk into a long empty hallway but instead be greeted by friendly faces. Treatment rooms will also be bigger to allow for social distancing between patients and staff.
“Throughout this project, we will do our best to not disrupt patient care,” added Fosness. “We are going to maintain the well clinic in the MCHC Wellness Center space and our therapy services will operate out of the former Norstar FCU building. We’re also working on another location in the community to set up wellness equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes.”
Although MCHC is affiliated with Avera, the renovation is strictly a local project.
“The decision to move the ‘well’ clinic off site and separate patients has proven effective,” said Fosness. “We have been fortunate to avoid the higher level of disruption other business and healthcare facilities have seen due to the pandemic.”
Fosness stressed that the local healthcare center serves a large area.
“This is a sizeable investment in a facility that serves about 5,500 people from an area that includes Marshall County, parts of Brown County, a portion of Day County, and the southern edge of North Dakota,” stressed Fosness. “The update will also allow us additional space for specialists to use our facility.”
Additional services offered by outreach at MCHC include cardiology, orthopedics, podiatry, audiology, sleep studies, mammography, and colonoscopies. Fosness sees the potential of bringing in other specialists with more space available to dedicate to those services.
“Scheduling has been an algebra equation for years, and it’s hard to bring on more if you don’t have the space to put them,” added Fosness. “Some days, you can’t find a parking spot, the facility is jammed with people, and every room is taken when we have specialists here. It’s crazy busy, but we want to offer services to help keep our patients’ care close to home.”
MCHC Board Chairman Adrian Heitmann said that the renovation will add to the facility’s already strong reputation. Presently MCHC employs about 125 people, including one physician and three nurse practitioners.
“Our medical staff is skilled and trusted, and the care people receive has a very good reputation. Patients want to receive care here, and we need to have a facility to serve the large area we covet None of this was done with the idea of making more money. It’s all about better serving the people in our area,” concluded Heitmann.