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St. Mary’s begins construction

This artist rendering of Essentia Health St. Mary’s shows the emergency room side of the building where remodeling will begin this week. Submitted graphic

A $3.1 million project will remodel the Emergency Department and create an expanded imaging services unit at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes.

The project will begin Monday and be completed in early summer of 2014.

“We’re excited about this project, which was part of our master facility plan when we built the new clinic in 2011,” says Peter Jacobson, president of Essentia Health-St. Mary’s.

“The Emergency Department renovations will improve patient flow and security, creating new waiting, triage and registration areas. The imaging area addition will tie our services together and bring them all in-house, offering added convenience and accessibility to our patients.”

The project’s first visible sign will come Monday, when the hospital’s old main entrance on Washington Avenue closes. Other entrances on the west side of campus will remain open.

Patients and staff are asked to use the Detroit Lakes Clinic main entrance on the east side of the campus. That entrance will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

After 8 p.m., visitors can enter through the Emergency Department entrance on the west side of campus, project manager Laurie Olson says.

The Emergency Department project will remodel 4,600 square feet.

The imaging department project will add 6,674 square feet.

The new Emergency Department will have a secure waiting area that can be closed off from the rest of the hospital at night. In addition, the Security Department will move into new offices within the Emergency Department.

The imaging project is generating the most buzz.

“For years, our patients have had to go outside to the MRI that is housed in a trailer just outside the Emergency Department garage,” Olson says. “The addition is going to be awesome. Our patients won’t have to go out into the elements.”

Jacobson explains the expanded imaging unit will bring together clinic and hospital services.

“We’ll be able to create a women’s imaging area that includes mammography and ultrasound,” Jacobson says. “We’ll also have a new MRI in place this fall and we’ll be standardizing technology with the rest of Essentia. This is going to be great for our patients and our staff, who are really excited to move.”

Several other projects also are in the works on the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s campus. A new chapel is under construction in the hospital and a healing garden is being planned on the hospital grounds.