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Expansion on schedule

Seth Propeck of Bemidji installs a toilet mount in a bathroom in the new addition of Sanford Health in Detroit Lakes Wednesday afternoon.

The Sanford Health Clinic building project is about 50 percent done and right on schedule.

The new 33,000-square-foot addition will be completed in July -- there will be a "sneak preview" for people to come see -- and then the remodeling of the existing 29,000-square-foot building will be completed by October, which is when an open house will be held for everyone in the community.

"All while maintaining operations," said Breanna Adams, director of clinic operations. "We're right on schedule in terms of timeline, and that's the important thing.

"The $15 million project is to provide medical services close to home," she added.

The project will include two operating suites for same-day surgeries, an endoscopy suite, imaging and lab expansions, relocation and expansion of physical and occupational therapy departments, and an upgraded and expanded optical shop and pharmacy.

Besides services, the expansion will include more personnel as well. This summer Sanford in Detroit Lakes will be adding 30 full-time positions, everything from physicians to imaging, nursing to registration.

Mark Mellmer, assistant project manager for JE Dunn Construction, said the concrete, foundation and roof work is completed, and the interior framing and drywall work is about 50 percent finished.

The entrance to the building will be moving east a bit, and the look of the building will include a nod to lake-area style, with timbers out front.

Inside, there will be soothing colors, and straight hallways so patients don't feel like they are lost in a maze.

"Lots of thoughtfulness is going into the design," Adams said.

Architects on the project are BWBR Architects out of the Twin Cities.

Mellmer said there will also be lots of natural light from the many windows.

Inside, providers have been giving pointers as to how and where items work best in their rooms, so as to make adjustments to the new rooms.

"It's fun working with the providers, so there are no surprises when they get in here," Mellmer said.

The alley behind the Sanford Clinic will also get some upgrading with this project. It will be widened and curb and gutter will be added. A retention pond will sit where Lincoln Rink once did as well.

Although contractor JE Dunn Construction is out of the Twin Cities, Mellmer said about 85 percent of the workforce on the project is from a 40-mile radius of Detroit Lakes, and about 75 percent are from Detroit Lakes.

"That's a big deal for us," he said.