SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A new Sioux Falls hospital is opening this month, heralding the development of a large health care campus on the city's bustling southwest side.

Sioux Falls-based Avera Health will open the specialty hospital Oct. 29. The five-floor hospital adjoins an three-story Avera Medical Group building, totaling 260,000 square feet. They're part of its $155 million Avera on Louise campus, what Avera officials say is the largest building project in the city's history.

The health care system will also open an addiction care center and sports medicine facility on the 82-acre campus by January, with as-yet-unannounced future development in the works.

It's a significant planting of the flag for Avera as it competes for business with giant cross-town rival Sanford Health and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital. The glassed-in hospital and its Avera signature green exterior lighting command a bluff on the major intersection of South Louise Avenue and West 69th Street, and overlooks the intersection of interstates 29 and 229.

"It's iconic. You can't miss it," said Ann Heiman, Avera assistant vice president for orthopedics, outpatient therapy and sports medicine. She said the site sets the campus apart from other health care centers in the city, many of which require traveling into the heart of Sioux Falls to get health care.

"I think the visibility is key, not just for Sioux Falls but for the surrounding community," she said. "This is such an ideal location because it's so easy to get to from northwest Iowa, from Southwest Minnesota, and it's the interstates and the easy off right to campus make it actually little less threatening, perhaps, than coming to the big city."

The Avera Specialty Hospital, part of the new $160 million Avera on Louise campus in southwest Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and pictured here on Tuesday, Oct. 8, is scheduled to open Oct. 29. Jeremy Fugleberg / Forum News Service
The Avera Specialty Hospital, part of the new $160 million Avera on Louise campus in southwest Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and pictured here on Tuesday, Oct. 8, is scheduled to open Oct. 29. Jeremy Fugleberg / Forum News Service

The building's first floor includes an Our Daily Bread cafe that will waft smells of its daily fresh-baked bread into the building's atrium, a meditation room, retail pharmacy and private registration areas. Clinic spaces includes offices for internal medicine, urogynecology and rheumatology, an imaging center, laboratory and infusion bays. The building's atrium includes a staircase at its center.

"We always have a central staircase because we heard from our patients that they measure their vitality and how good they're feeling by being able to walk up and down the stairs eventually," said Lindsey Meyers, Avera vice president of public relations and communications.

A second-floor clinic is dedicated to orthopedics, including eight operating rooms on the hospital side, with surgical suites that include robotic arm and GPS guidance as well as 4K video for teleconferencing and precision views of procedures.

Dr. Thomas Ambrose, an Avera orthopedic surgeon, showed off one of the surgical suites, lit with purplish blue ultraviolet sterilization lights as a peaceful tropical beach scene played on the video monitors.

"You could build silicon chips for computers in here," he said, referring to the room's sterilization. "Truly state of the art. There's nothing like this."

The third floor is dedicated to gastroenterology. The fourth floor includes a physical therapy gym and 24 private rooms with expansive views of the city. The hospital's fifth floor remains open to expansion. The building includes well-fed ponds out front, indoor and outdoor waterfalls and a rooftop garden and seating area. The total campus will employ 400, with about three-quarter of those employees working at the specialty hospital.

Chad Bare, assistant vice president of the Avera Specialty Hospital, shows off the atrium of the new facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The hospital is part of the large, new $160 million Avera on Louise campus on the city's southwest side.
Chad Bare, assistant vice president of the Avera Specialty Hospital, shows off the atrium of the new facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The hospital is part of the large, new $160 million Avera on Louise campus on the city's southwest side.

"We had all aspects of the folks that were going to be in this building had a hand in the layout and function," said Chad Bare, assistant vice president of Avera Specialty Hospital. "Every time we would make a design change, we would get it in front of the physicians, and we had focus groups, so a lot of thought went into this building."

While Avera has yet to announce future plans for Avera on Louise campus, there is plenty of acreage left remaining even after the three under-construction facilities open to the public. The specialty hospital will play a crucial role in the build out, Bare said.

"There's a lot of redundancy built into this building, with our pharmacy, our sterilization, our kitchen," he said. "So we have the capacity to support this campus as it continues to grow."