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BREAKING NEWS

UHD proposes expansion

By Staff | Sep 6, 2008

The green area represents an architect’s rendition of possible expansion on the UHD campus. For more expansion goals, turn to page 18.

While preliminary, United Hospital District officials have begun identifying space needs of a “campus plan” that moves its Blue Earth clinic near the hospital.

In addition, a new adolescent treatment center would be built in Winnebago.

Dennis Vonasek and Rebecca Sanders of Hammel-Green-Abraham-son Architects and Engineers (HGA) updated UHD boardmembers on work their firm has done so far.

“We started this process in the fall of 2006, to see if clinical expansion is available. We’ve had a series of meetings with hospital administration,” says Vona-sek.

Plans presented by the health care architects show nearly 12,000 square feet would be for the United Hospital District — Clinics presently located at the Ag Center.

In total, new construction and renovation would result in a 44,000-square-foot facility that could include rental space for a pharmacy, dental and eye clinics.

To date, $13,000 has been spent for HGA’s services. Vonasek estimated total cost of the project at $15 million.

UHD administrator Jeff Lang says the “one-stop” health care center will greatly enhance the care provided to their patients.

“It shows our commitment to total care of the public and providing accessible health services in one location,” says Lang.

The project also addresses location of the helicopter pad, parking needs, and where services will be placed, such as radiology, medical records and the ambulance drop-off.

Lang says some departments would be moved to separate patient and public areas.

“The new building would have the same character of your recent addition,” says Sanders.

HGA worked on the hospital’s last project, a $3.8 million addition finished in April 2003.

In Winnebago, UHD officials are looking at constructing a new treatment center at a cost of $3.4 million to $3.6 million.

The new facility would be 16,513 square feet, compared to the present 13,600.

Lang says three possible sites are being considered.

Some boardmembers say they want the public to have input before the projects are given the OK to move forward.

“It would be nice to have community support. These are big projects, $15 million is a lot of money,” says boardmember Larry Anderson.

Boardmember Darlene Mair questioned why there is less progress on the treatment center project and says the hospital board could meet with the center’s advisory board to update them.

Boardmember Brenda Baldwin agrees with Mair, saying having open communication is good public relations.

“If anything else, it shows the board is interested in what they are trying to do at the center,” says Baldwin.

Lang says the public will be asked for input at the proper time and informational forums are in the “planning stages.”

He says then public meetings will be held in three different locations.

“Hospital administration is working with the board to try gaining public input,” he says. “We’ve established goals. Maybe we’ve missed something.”