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Healthcare building boom

The campus of ESSENTIA HEALTH ST. MARY'S in Detroit Lakes has been transformed in the last few years, with several major additions and demolition projects at the hospital, clinic and nursing home, as well as St. Mary's EMS, which has a new home on the hospital campus.1 / 2
The sanford health clinic has undergone major changes, with an ambitious addition and remodeling project.2 / 2

In the past five years, the face of health care in Detroit Lakes has undergone some extensive changes.

Besides the changes in name -- St. Mary's Regional Health Center is now Essentia Health St. Mary's, and MeritCare has become Sanford Health -- there have been big infrastructure changes to both local organizations as well.

In 2008, St. Mary's completed a 40,000 square foot addition to its campus that encompassed both a new, integrated Therapy Center and an expanded nursing home -- with the name of that nursing home being changed as well, from St. Mary's Nursing Center to Oak Crossing.

In May 2011, St. Mary's EMS completed a construction project of its own, which included 10,939 square feet of space for a garage, office, two conference rooms and a kitchen.

And in August 2011, work was completed on a 49,315 square foot remodeling and expansion project at the Essentia Health St. Mary's Clinic, which includes 90 exam rooms, nine procedure rooms and seven registration desks.

A remodeled lab and gift shop were also included in the project, along with additional office and locker room space.

There is now one main entry for the hospital and the clinic, which is located off Frazee Street, along with new patient and visitor parking on the east side and a drop off lane at the main entrance.

There is a new retail pharmacy, complete with drive-through, and Urgent Care is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

"That (urgent care) has been a very busy new service for us," said Ryan Hill, CFO of Essentia Health St. Mary's.

The EHSM clinic expansion in Detroit Lakes also included the addition of a single entry for both the clinic and the hospital, Hill noted.

"We have one main entrance now, which is located on the east side of the building," he said.

"It used to be on the west side, and the emergency room entrance is still maintained there, but other than the ER, all hospital and clinic patients now enter on the east side -- and that's where all the parking is."

Hill said the consolidated entry area has improved traffic flow and enabled them to have one, centrally located greeting point for patients and visitors.

In October, Essentia also opened a new, 6,593 square foot clinic in Pelican Rapids, complete with therapy services, an imaging room and nine examination rooms.

And by the end of this summer, they plan to open a new clinic in Frazee as well, said Hill.

Though they haven't decided on a location for the new Frazee clinic, "we've got a couple of options," Hill said.

Not to be outdone, Sanford Health announced plans in 2009 for a 33,000 square foot expansion and 28,800 square foot remodeling project on its existing clinic -- to the tune of about $15 million.

"We broke ground in 2010, and it was complete in October 2011," said Sanford Director of Clinic Operations Breanna Adams.

The clinic now encompasses a new Surgery Center with two operating suites and endoscopy suite; expanded imaging and lab services; expanded and relocated physical and occupational therapy spaces; outdoor space for mobile medical units with over-head canopies on the south and north entrances; and expanded clinic space for future growth of up to 36 providers, both primary and specialty care.

One of the biggest moves was bringing behavioral science, which was down the block from the main clinic, under the same roof.

"It's integrated care, because they work so close with family physicians already," said Adams back in November, when the new walk-in clinic opened.

Adams also said that after a year of construction and an even longer planning stage, it's nice to see the clinic up and running and the patient flow working as it was designed.

As if all this weren't enough, construction also began in August 2011 on a new 13,000 square foot CVS Pharmacy, which is slated to hold its grand opening Feb. 12 at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Frazee Street in Detroit Lakes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454