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No time like the present

DETROIT LAKES - Despite swirls of snow and sub-zero temperatures, construction in the lakes area has forged ahead through a less than ideal winter season.

With additions well underway at St. Mary's and Emmanuel, a large-scale remodeling project taking place at the local Minnesota State Community and Technical College campus as well as a new building for Morrison Eye Care, winter has not hampered building progress about town.

"We are on schedule for the most part and should be on track to finish up this August," commented St. Mary's Regional Health Center's Christy Brinkman. "We got held up a little waiting for the steel for our building, but other than that, the weather really has not been a factor for us."

The new two-story, nursing home addition is approximately 40,000 square feet, with a 25,000-square-foot first floor footprint. The $12.3 million project is a capital expenditure for St. Mary's.

"We needed to expand," Brinkman said, because caring for residents, as well as their needs, have changed over the building's 40-year history.

The new structure will afford the St. Mary's nursing home entity to create 46 combined private and shared suites at their facility as well as a new therapy and sleep center, which will serve the hospital, too.

"Our building was built in 1967 and was in need of updating to meet privacy needs," explained Brinkman.

Along with developing a more private environment, creating a community within the nursing home was also a top priority of the build.

"Nursing home care has changed a lot since we first opened. Besides being able to offer more in and out patient services, we wanted to create more of a neighborhood inside of our building."

One of those new community needs was a more open kitchen where our residents could take part in meal and snack preparation, just like at home," said Brinkman.

In addition to more private rooms, the new space will allow a much different atmosphere.

"It won't just be the physical changes our residents will see, they should also be able to really feel the changes too," Brinkman remarked.

The new St. Mary's addition should wrap up sometime in August.

Another new building dotting the Detroit Lakes area landscape is Emmanuel Community's latest addition called The Cottage. Set to wrap up next fall, the expansion includes a new adult daycare area, kitchen, three respite care rooms and a 16-unit memory care assisted living facility.

The $6.8 building will house space for a new adult day center comprised of a living room, lounge, kitchen, dining room, bathing and offices: a meeting room and expanded kitchen facilities are also part of the multi-million dollar building project.

The expansion was needed for a number of reasons, noted Steve Przybilla, Emmanuel Community assistant campus administrator.

"The main kitchen was designed in 1963 and for just the nursing home," explained Pyzbilla. "Currently, we prepare meals for the nursing home, Lamplighter Manor, The Madison, Park Manor, Pleasant View and the current adult day program: with the addition of The Cottage, the kitchen would not be able to meet the growing demand and consumer choices."

Funded by a capital expenditure and $250,000 in grant funds from Minnesota Department of Human Services, the new addition will give Emmanuel an additional 32,000 square feet of space.

"The need for respite and adult day services is really growing," commented Przybilla. "Adult daycare and respite services offer in-home caregivers a place to take their loved ones if they need to go shopping, attend appointments or if they just need a break, " he explained.

Across Minnesota, added Pryzbilla, in-home caregivers deliver 92 percent of care. Each 2 percent reduction in this number costs the state $10 million annually.

"This service is needed to help assist those in-home care givers to keep their loved one in their home as long as possible," he continued.

Emmanuel's building project is set for completion in September.

With a remodel price tag around $500,000, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, MSCTC is yet another construction project adding to the clamor of hammers in the lakes area.

A 10,000 square foot remodel, the project will afford the local college with a new Student Life Center and Rural Enterprise Center.

The remodel will provide updates to the Student Life and Rural Enterprise Centers and should be completed in a couple of weeks," said Steve Guttormson, MSCTC public relations.

"The Student Life Center provides space for a new student commons area and an expanded bookstore," said Guttormson. "The Rural Enterprise Center provides resources and services for entrepreneurs in the region,"concluded Guttormson.