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Sanford to unveil rest of remodeling project

Dr. Armand Radke shows off what will be the new optical department at Sanford Health. The new optical office space will open Sept. 12, and is roughly located where the lobby was in the old MeritCare building.1 / 2
Construction at Sanford Health is moving fast and furious for the Sept. 12 opening of "Phase 2" of the construction project.2 / 2

Construction is rolling right along at the Sanford Health Clinic in Detroit Lakes, as phase two of a three phase expansion and remodeling project is almost set to open.

Sept. 12 is when the public will see the next batch of changes, which will mainly involve the pharmacy, OB-GYN, optical and the business offices.

While Phase 1 (which opened in July) focused on adding 30,000 square feet encompassing a new surgery center, expanded imaging services and expanded lab, Phase 2 entails remodeling the existing building.

Over 20,000 square feet of the original 1987 building has essentially been gutted and re-vamped for the growing needs of local patients.

Contractors are sprinkled around the "Phase 2" areas, doing wiring, painting, building and moving furniture and materials into their new homes.

When patients come in on Sept. 12, here is what they will see:

OBGYN has moved upstairs (first from the basement then from the east side of the building) to a more private area of the clinic, curled back behind the main registration area, where there is a single nurse station of only OB nurses.

Family practice will then take the old OB spot, essentially surrounding them.

Optical is moving across the building in an expanded area with more exam rooms and extra workspace.

Downstairs where the lab, imaging and lobby used to be has transformed into a number of offices.

There is now a diabetic manager and nutrition management office down there, as well as a conference room that will be a temporary location for the pharmacy.

"They (pharmacy) will go back to their original spot after the project is all done, but they have to get in there to demo and remodel it, so during that time, they'll be in the conference room," said Director of Clinic Operations Breanna Adams.

The old "Main Entrance" doors and walkway will be filled in to allow for an expanded pharmacy, by roughly 300 square feet.

Downstairs will also be physical therapy, which is not a change, but the two new treatment rooms are.

Sanford has also added an occupational therapy department with a single occupational therapist.

"It's a new thing to us; we are going to try doing neuro-stimulations," said Adams, "She's going to work with people who've had strokes or things like that, and she can also do home health, and go out and talk to local businesses and see some of those functions so that people can get back to work quicker."

There are three extra spaces for OT rooms, which hold a full kitchen to help work with people who need help in gaining back their normal living activities.

Medical records and the business office are also located downstairs.

Adams says right now, Sanford employees are a little out of their elements, as they try to find where everything has been put and get use to their new spaces.

And although she says patients coming in to the building can also sometimes get confused, service to them will hardly miss a beat as every department is being kept running right on through the construction.

'Moving Week' is Sept. 8-11, when all the Phase 2 departments make their location switch, but Adams says even then, operations will only be affected on Sept. 8 and 9 when optical will be closed and Sept. 11 when the pharmacy will be closed.

"We just ask that everybody be patient with us because we're making improvements," said Adams, "and it'll just take a little time for all of us to get use to the new processes and spaces."

After Sept. 12, Phase 3 of the project begins, in which the pharmacy will be remodeled, the lobby expanded, the mental health offices moved over into the clinic, and more exam rooms carved out.

Everybody will be in their permanent spots and the project finished by the end of October or beginning of November, when Adams says some sort of an open house will take place.

Through the hassles, though, Adams says both Sanford employees and patients are excited about the project, which comes in at just over $15 million.

"You rarely see this much money go into a small community in terms of remodeling or adding on," said Adams, "We're very happy that Sanford saw the value in DL and in this clinic."

Adams says since the project, Sanford's Detroit Lakes Clinic has added 30 additional full time staff and has had several physicians contacting them for positions -- another new situation for them.

"We never had the room to accommodate additional physicians before," said Adams, "so this is a good sign that we're planning for the future."