Avera Queen of Peace plans new campus, starting with medical office building
Avera Health and Avera Queen of Peace Hospital announced Friday plans to build a new three-story medical office building on Cabela Drive just west of Cabela’s in Mitchell, on land that is visible from Interstate 90. Avera leaders are taking a long-range view that this location, named Grassland Health Campus, would be the future home of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and related facilities.
Groundbreaking for the new medical office building is tentatively planned for August 2014. The Daily Republic reported the plans for a new campus in November.
The 70,000-square-foot medical office building will house family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, occupational medicine, urgent care, laboratory and imaging services, and a home medical equipment outlet on the first two floors. The building will feature a patient-friendly design with the latest technology, including the capability for eConsult telehealth visits with physicians in a wide range of medical specialties, minimizing the need for patients to travel for specialty care. The third floor will be left open for future growth.
The building’s architectural design will reflect the prairie of the Northern Plains, similar to the Prairie Center on campus of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls.
Estimated cost of the medical office building project is $16.5 million, in addition to the $1.6 million cost of the 30-acre tract of land, purchased from the Mitchell Area Development Corporation about two years ago.
“The idea for this project grew out of a real need for expansion of our medical staff and, of course, additional medical office space to accommodate their practices,” said Tom Clark, Regional President and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace. Prospective physicians need to be able to envision themselves practicing in an efficient and convenient setting that meets the needs of their practice and their patients. That becomes difficult when space does not exist for these potential practices. “Our existing facilities are hindering us from being able to recruit physicians; our current campus is landlocked and allows no room for long-term expansion. We have signed agreements with physicians joining us over the next two years, and we currently have no place to put them,” Clark said.
Clark, who was named CEO in 2011, led the hospital board through an extensive strategic planning process that concluded with a long-term vision for Avera Queen of Peace. This vision became one of a new campus, starting with a medical office building and eventually accommodating Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and all its related facilities.
“Our current campus is tucked in the northeast corner of Mitchell in a residential area. It’s hard for people from out of town to find us,” Clark said.
Health care is changing from the inpatient environment to outpatient. Patients and their families expect these services to be convenient and easily accessible. The new 30-acre campus is visible, convenient and accessible, and is ideally suited for the shift to outpatient services and meeting the changing expectations of patients. It’s estimated that more than 3 million vehicles pass Mitchell on Interstate 90 each year. “It will be the most visible facility in the Avera system,” Clark said. “This land was hands down the best choice.”
In 2014, Avera Queen of Peace inpatient, outpatient and clinic visits are projected to total more than 196,000. Outpatient and clinic visits are projected to increase between 3 and 5 percent per year, while hospital inpatient volumes are projected to remain flat.
The campus concept, developed by BWBR Architects of St. Paul, Minn., is one of multiple buildings located together as opposed to one large building. In addition to health care buildings, the campus will feature green space, walking space, and a greater focus on health and wellness.
For the nearer future, construction of the new medical office building will open up additional space at the current Avera Queen of Peace Hospital campus. Clark says the hospital hopes to move surgical specialists closer to the hospital in the space made available.
“We’re thrilled to be breaking ground on our new state-of-the-art medical office building by the end of summer,” Clark said. “The bigger picture, long-range vision is a multi-decade concept that will not be fully developed for years to come.”