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Avera Brady breaks ground

Joe Vasek addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new addition onto the Avera Brady Health and Rehab assisted-living and nursing home facility in Mitchell. Vasek donated $275,000 to the capital campaign for the building. (Chris Huber/Republic)

Construction will begin in the coming days on an addition to Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell.

The Mitchell nursing home and assisted-living facility will add 17,000 square feet to the north end of the campus.

Seventeen new rooms will be included, predominantly singles, which will allow for the renovation of the smallest existing double rooms into singles. This will grow the number of single rooms at the facility from 16 to 68.

As part of the project, Avera Brady is creating four distinct neighborhoods, each with its own look, feel and décor, its own activity room, dining area and access to an outdoor courtyard.

"It will be just like in your neighborhood in any town -- you can go down the street to the store or to the beauty shop, except it will be right here our own campus," Avera Brady Administrator Veronnica Smith said.

During a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning, Avera Queen of Peace Health Services President and CEO Tom Clark spoke to a crowd of about 50 people.

"We are not just taking care of residents here," he said. "We are taking care of families. This isn't just an addition to a building. It's an addition to a home."

Funding for the estimated $3 million project is being raised through a capital campaign named "Connecting the Past to the Future." Almost $700,000 has been raised so far.

Joe Vasek, of Mitchell, donated $275,000 to the campaign after he spent time at the facility when his wife lived there during her last days.

Vasek was at the groundbreaking Tuesday and said his wife, Ellen, would have been proud of the donation.

"She always said to me, 'Whatever you do, I know it will be the right thing.' "

The project is expected be completed by the fall of 2013.