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Groundbreaking at St. Mary's Innovis for new clinic expansion, to open next year

Cyndi Anderson, a member of the St. Mary's Innovis Board of Directors, joked about competing with construction equipment after the sound went out on her microphone during groundbreaking ceremonies.

Although construction has been going on for a while, St. Mary's Innovis Health officially broke ground on its new clinic Monday afternoon.

The new Patient Care Clinic will "offer Detroit Lakes and the region something more," Chief Medical Officer Abigail Ring said during the ceremony, amid construction going on just beyond the fence where she stood.

The addition, which is scheduled to be open next summer, will not only allow the hospital and clinic to grow in size, it will help combine departments and have everything under one roof. St. Mary's held a private groundbreaking earlier Monday morning for the physicians.

"They have been waiting a long time for this," CEO Tom Thompson said.

"Quite honestly, everyone here is a stockholder," he added, including the doctors, care support team, staff, nurses, government leaders, and all people involved with St. Mary's.

Kevin Pitzer, who is a part of the Essentia Health Senior Leadership team, said the mission of St. Mary's -- "We are called to serve our community by providing exceptional health care for life" -- "is truly what this project embodies."

Holy Rosary's Monsignor Tim McGee added that "they talk about improving the community and you're doing that already. I can see that from my front window" across the street from the rectory.

The Patient Care Clinic building project will be twice the square footage as the existing clinic, approximately 50,000 square feet. This will provide for future growth.

"We're excited to make this investment in the community," Pitzer said. "It's what your patients, community and staff deserve."

The new clinic will also help combine radiology, laboratory and retail pharmacy facilities, which will help eliminate the duplication of resources.

The growth of St. Mary's will have a "tremendous impact on our economic community," Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk said. "It will make us even more of a regional health center."

And with growth comes change.

"For those who have been here for years, yes, we are flipping the entrance to the east side again, on Lincoln (Avenue)," Thompson said with a laugh.