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Everyone happy with new facility

By Staff | Jan 10, 2011

UHD?materials manager Tim Pytleski and chief nursing officer Cande Arends board an elevator to transport a load to the basement of the new clinic.

After some 16 months of construction, United Hospital District’s new clinic opened its doors on Friday and began seeing patients.

On Thursday, UHD officials closed the temporary clinic on the hospital campus so the move into the 44,000-square foot facility could be made.

Cande Arends, chief nursing officer at UHD, says a coordination of efforts was necessary for a smooth transition.

“We had a 10-member group meet on Mondays for the past three months identifying what needed to be done,” she says. “Our planning was very detailed, because you can’t half-treat patients once you’re open.”

Doctors, nurses and other staff were busy hauling items into offices and to their proper locations. Also, Todd Miles, Doug Striemer and Mike Dittrich of Fitzgerald Moving of Fairmont were hired to help.

Mike Dittrich of Fitzgerald Moving in Fairmont wearing a ‘The Movin Man’ T-shirt hauls a scale from the old clinic.

Clinic manager Sue Hassing and one of her daughters worked through the night Wednesday until 1 a.m. Thursday morning prepping for the move.

Hassing says the two days were “an adventure involving great teamwork.”

“The patients have been really understanding and the staff has been wonderful working hard to get done so the clinic can open,” she adds.

At Tuesday’s hospital board meeting, Dr. Kevin Kimm called the new clinic a state-of-the-art facility.

“It’s the most beautiful building I have worked in,” he says. “It will allow us to give better and more efficient care to our patients.”

Sue Hassing

UHD administrator Jeff Lang says moving into the new clinic has been fun and exciting, but challenging at times.

“The planning by our staff has been great,” he says.

Although the clinic is open, Phase 3 of the expansion project involving renovating the dining room, and the removal of asbestos from the old X-Ray and business office space must still be completed.

Also, Lang says the helicopter landing pad isn’t in operation yet and the FAA must give its clearance.

“We still have another 10 to 11 months of work left. We’re not out of the woods yet,” says Lang.

So far, slightly more than $15 million has been spent on the clinic and adolescent treatment center in Winnebago.

About $4.3 million of bond funding remains.

Chief financial officer Larry Lee says cost of the treatment center of $4.124 million was $75,000 under budget.

In another matter, fire code concerns means Parker Oaks will buy, not lease, the former treatment center from UHD.

Lang says Parker Oaks will either have to recess the building’s windows or install a sprinkler system.

Lang proposed selling the building for $1 and surrounding land for $15,000.

The board approved the sale.

Parker Oaks plans to use the facility to provide housing and medical care for veterans.

“I talked to the county veterans service officer and there’s a definite need for this type of service,” says board member Norm Hall.

In other business, new board members were sworn in and officers elected.

Chairman is Dennis Zitnak; Douglas Johanson, vice chairman; Jeannette Eichhorn, treasurer; and Norm Hall, clerk.