On any given day something new is happening on the site of the construction of the new Carris Health - Redwood hospital facility on the edge of the community.
On a recent Thursday morning construction workers were placing conduit in the ground for the light poles on the site. While some worked outside a hive of activity was taking place inside of the facility as workers were doing everything from installing tile in a bathroom area to laying carpet.
Dave Larson, CentraCare vice-president of facilities management, offered a tour of the site, and along the way talked about the progress being made.
According to Larson, the project is on schedule, adding the plan is to be doing the final punch list items at the end of this year with the idea of opening to the public some time in early 2021.
Yes, he added, there have been some delays in the delivery of material related to the COVID-19 pandemic (mostly these are customs delays), but he said those delays have not put the project behind schedule.
The hospital sits on a 35-acre site, and Larson said the facility itself is sitting on just a few acres of that footprint, adding one of the challenges in doing a project like this is creating a site that meets the needs of today as well as those needs 100 years from now.
The building itself has a unique external style Larson said is a nod to local geography.
The curvature of the building is intended to represent the waterfalls and local rivers.
In addition to creating a building that pays homage to the area, Larson also indicated that the intent in the green spaces outside of the hospital is to use native prairie plants. In communicating with the Lower Sioux leadership, Larson said a manual that indicates which plants are considered native was presented, and it will serve as a guide in that process.
Inside of the hospital is another recognition of the area, as the meditation room includes a wall decorated with Morton gneiss.
As construction continues so does the planning for the day when the site actually opens.
According to Katherine Brozek, communications manager for Carris Health - Redwood, one of the biggest changes for the community is the fact that the clinic and hospital are going to be in the same building.
There will be one main entrance for both the clinic and the hospital, said Larson, adding a second entrance for the emergency room will also serve as the after hours entrance. The intent is to create a setting within the hospital that allows people to feel at ease as they find where within the facility they are supposed to go.
“We want to provide a ‘no wrong answer’ approach for the public,” Larson said.
Brozek added along with that patient privacy will also be a priority in the facility.
As the plans for the hospital were established, Larson said local input was sought, and he said many of the thoughts from those who took part on that process have been included in the building.
Another important element of the project was the use of local companies whenever possible, and Larson said there are elements of the hospital, such as the dirt work and the electrical elements, that included companies from the Redwood area.
On any given day, Larson said there are in the area of 150 people on site, adding those people are not just working on the construction site. Those people are also patronizing the local community.
Larson explained so much of the construction of the hospital is utilizing what he described as intelligent technology. Rather than using traditional methods to put together the facility, as pieces are needed for different portions of the project those elements are made in advance to very exact specifications. In that way, efficiencies are being created to help move the project along faster and to help keep costs lower.
As an example, Larson pointed to a space where several pieces of HVAC ducting had been placed. Each duct piece included a sticker that had the specifics of where that piece fit into the overall system of the site.
“It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle,” said Larson.
The $60 million project is being funded through bond financing, added Larson. He added CentraCare is not paying outright for the facility. The people from the area who utilize the hospital over the years will help pay back those bonds.
Overall, Larson indicated that the project is going very well, and he is looking forward to the day when the doors officially open and the public has the chance to have its health care needs met.