January 17, 2013 | Volume 118, Issue No. 3

Hospital expansion plans presented to public

Community members heard about the new plans for the addition and expansion at Mercy Hospital, Moose Lake, at a meeting on Thursday, January 10.

An artist\'s rendition of the completed Mercy Hospital, Moose Lake, expansion.

Architect Brad Krump of BWBR stated that the design work is in progress.

“We are down to deciding where outlets and light switches should be,” he told the group.

Oscar J. Boldt Construction of Cloquet has been hired as the contractor, and construction is expected to begin in May on the two-year construction and remodeling project.

Mercy Hospital has received approval for $38 million in loans from USDA Rural Development for the 116,400-square foot facility. USDA funding comes in the form of a $30 million direct loan and an $8 million loan guarantee delivered through AgStar Rural Capital Network.

The costs are broken down into $1,680,400 for land development, $31,531,300 for buildings and improvements, $4,619,900 for equipment and $168,400 for other expenses.

“Mercy will be paying back the USDA loan from the operating surplus that we will achieve as we move forward,” said Chief Financial Officer Gregg Chartrand in an email reply to a question about how the loan will be repaid. “Currently the bond debt that Mercy has is being paid back using operating cash and thus we have been able to invest any additional surplus and maintain our positive cash flow. There will be no burden to the taxpayers and no levy is planned.”

Two neighbors expressed their concerns about the changes, and asked that their concerns be considered.

Keith Carlson, Director of Support Services, reported that their concerns had been taken into account, and that the buffer of trees between the hospital’s and their properties would be enlarged.

Drainage issues will be built into the plan to limit drainage of the hospital property onto private property.

“I’ll make sure of what we can do and do it completely,” he told the residents. “Our board is committed to being a good neighbor.”

A Conditional Use Permit will be obtained from the city to move the helipad slightly, said Carlson. The tree line may be lowered for a flight path. The helicopters will not come over the neighborhoods when coming in for a landing or after takeoff.

Truck traffic will remain on Kenwood Avenue. The Walters House for short-term staff members will be moved across Kenwood Avenue to land purchased with the clinic.

The imaging truck will not have to come after the addition and remodeling is complete. An imaging department has been added in the plans.

The current parking lot and main entrance on Kenwood Avenue will be for the Augustana Care Center.

Krump said that he and representatives of his firm would be onsite during construction to ensure that the construction is going according to plan. The monitoring is a requirement of USDA financing.

The floor plan of the hospital was shown in several views, both as a floor plan for the first and second floors and in artist’s renditions of the view along the curving public corridors.

“It’s all about the patient first,” said Krump. “We took into account safety, efficiency, travel distance and adjacency of each department.”

A Shared Leadership Team has chosen brick, natural stone and wood in the décor as appropriate for Moose Lake.

“The building will have warm, earthy materials and wood floors for a modern and standard look,” said Krump. “It will be warm and inviting.”

The former clinic, attached to the hospital building, will be converted to materials and storage space, and trucks will deliver goods to a dock located just off of Kenwood Avenue on the southeast end of the building to limit truck traffic for the remainder of the hospital.

The ambulance entrance and main entrance would be relocated to what is now the rear of the hospital, with both areas separated. The emergency entrance would be at the far south corner of the building, and the public entrance would be in the center.

A courtyard will be constructed to the north of the main entrance, with a Meditation Room and Healing Gardens nearby.

Corridors inside the lower of the building feature a glass wall on one side to connect the public to the outside.

Patient rooms will be on the second floor. That will eliminate car lights shining in the windows and a reduction of movement for staff and patients. Waiting rooms will be located in the front and back of the second floor. A public elevator will be front and center, said Krump.

The physical therapy and rehabilitation departments will be expanded and located where the existing patient rooms are currently. All of the diagnostic departments, such as the lab, x-ray and CT, will be located between the emergency area and surgery for more efficiency.

There will be seven treatment rooms in the emergency area. A specialty clinic will be located next to the emergency department, with an area for overflow.

A third operating room will be added, with expanded prep and recovery areas.

Three rooms for administering chemotherapy will be available, and the gift shop will be greatly expanded and located in the public area of the main floor.

The new addition and expansion project is designed to limit the distance traveled for patients on gurneys. An elevator from the second floor will be located near the surgery and diagnostic area.

The dietary and cafeteria area will be expanded.

The current birthing area will become the sleep study area. The human resources and medical records area will be on the back side of the building.

Reception desks will be located in the emergency and hospital areas, and nurses stations will be located in the area of the patient rooms. A pharmacy will be located on the second floor in the center of the 21 patient rooms, which will border both sides of the second floor, with views to the outside.

The birthing area will be on the south end of the second floor with four labor and delivery rooms. A nursery will be located in close proximity to the labor and delivery rooms, with a secure entrance.

The private rooms will be spacious, with separate areas for the nurse, the patient and the family.

"This project is an investment into the health of this rural district and is based on a careful and thorough planning process,” said CEO Jason Douglas in the Mercy Hospital publication, Lifeline.

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