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Winner Regional Healthcare expansion a 'step in the right direction'

WINNER -- City officials anticipate the construction of a $23 million expansion project at Winner Regional Healthcare Center will boost the town's economy and quality of life.

WINNER - City officials anticipate the construction of a $23 million expansion project at Winner Regional Healthcare Center will boost the town's economy and quality of life.

The project was recently approved by the hospital's board of directors to bolster health care services across the region, and Winner Mayor Frank Finney said it is a "huge" project for a town Winner's size.

"It's really going to move the hospital and the community forward because it's going to make things a lot easier-they're going to be able to handle a lot more patients," Finney said. "It's going to be pretty impressive and we're really looking forward to it."

The main focus of the project will be the construction of a new clinic, emergency room, operating room, lab and radiology department, along with a streamlined registration area for the entire facility, according to Winner Regional officials. The original 1947 building will be demolished to make room for new construction, while the old laboratory and radiology space will be repurposed to accommodate services currently housed in the 1947 building.

Plans include 28,000 square feet of new construction, along with 16,000 square feet of major renovation work. All hospital services are anticipated to remain operational throughout construction.

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The project is being funded through a low interest USDA loan, a gift of $3 million from the late John and Raymond Erickson, $1 million in other pledges, as well as $3 million in local philanthropic donations.

Winner City Council member Jody Brozik said the hospital board approached the council approximately one year ago with tentative plans. As the plan grew and manifested in the form of a long-term, concrete blueprint, the council remained supportive and became more involved. Brozik said the city will assist in providing water, sewer and utility services.

And the city has been so supportive because officials know quality health care is important to people looking to "put down roots," Brozik added.

"Anytime anybody's looking at a community, the first things they look at are health care, schools, businesses and economic development, along with recreation and entertainment," Brozik said. "Whenever you have the opportunity to improve the health care in an immediate sector where the surrounding communities would benefit, too, you're obviously excited about that."

Brozik added the city is aware there may be some unexpected complications during construction, and is ready to work with Winner Regional staff to smooth any rough patches.

But, most importantly, Brozik said, Winner Regional is taking the right steps to "make the community of Winner stronger."

"It's an opportunity for our town moving forward to grow, expand and improve," Brozik said. "It's a big step for them, but kudos to them for stepping forward and wanting to be one of the strong pillars of the community."

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