$4.5 million Armour hospital project beginsGround broken on addition, renovation; project to take about 18 months.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
ARMOUR — Hospital staff, board members and state officials celebrated a groundbreaking Thursday morning for a new addition and renovations to the Douglas County Memorial Hospital.
About 50 people gathered on the north side of the building on the helipad for a short ceremony. Many took part in breaking the ground, including three physician assistants and one physician.
PAs Jennifer Bietz, Vanessa Miiller and Amber Wolter and Dr. Marlys Luebke all used golden shovels to literally break the ground on the north side of the building.
“This is a high point in my life in the community,” Luebke said. “It’s just so exciting.”
Luebke has been at the hospital for 23 years and is originally from Parkston.
“We’re very excited about the project,” Bietz said. Bietz has been at the hospital for 11 years and is also from Parkston. Miiller transplanted to the area from Nebraska and has been there 21 years. Wolter is the newest addition to the PA staff, having started six months ago. She is a native of Mount Vernon.
The nearly 6,500-square-foot addition has been in the works for about 2½ years, said Heath Brouwer, hospital administrator.
“I think the community is going to be happy with the layout and look of the new addition,” he told the crowd.
The new addition and renovations will include a new emergency room, inpatient rooms, a pharmacy and an expanded laboratory. Brouwer said he hopes construction will be completed in about 18 months.
Brouwer thanked several people and organizations for their parts in securing funding to make the addition and renovations possible, including the hospital’s board, USDA Rural Development, District III Planning and Development and state Sen. Jim Putnam, R-Armour.
He also thanked the employees.
“Most of you stayed through hard times,” he said. “This is your reward.”
Approximately 5,850 square feet of the building will be renovated as well.
The total cost for the project will be $4.5 million, $3.5 million of which is coming in the form of a 40-year, 3.5 percent fixed mortgage through USDA Rural Development.
The other $1 million will come from a $500,000 community development block grant through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the hospital will be responsible for $500,000.
Brouwer said prior to starting the project, he and the board hired an feasibility of adding onto the building.
The project would have come together much sooner, but the funding needed wasn’t available.
“This project would not have been possible without the funds made available to us through USDA Rural Development,” Brouwer said. “We are very thankful that we will be able to continue to provide these needed health care services to the surrounding communities.”