September 2, 2015

Dirt work beginning for new hospital

By Daniel Arens

After months of planning and proposals, the first phase of work for the new hospital in Hazen is underway.
Part of the southeast portion of Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC) has been torn down. Those offices and rooms located in that section have been relocated to other areas of the current facility.
Crews are working on preliminary dirt work for the site of the new hospital, which will be located northeast of the current SMC building. The North Dakota Department of Health approved the hospital’s site plan, although the construction plan is still pending the department’s review.
The site plan includes dirt work, the development of pads, installation of utilities, and the construction of a new road that will provide access between the ambulance bay and the new hospital.
The existing hospital has already switched over to the new main source of electricity, which was installed by Roughrider shortly after work began.
The new hospital will be larger than the current facility, and will be more comprehensive and coordinated than the existing structure. The clinic that is currently located across the street will become part of the new hospital, on the right side from the main entrance. The new hospital will have a separate entrance for ER patients to separate routine check-ups from emergency procedures. It will also facilitate movement in the hospital that ensures people in critical condition will be within quick reach of proper care.
Other benefits accompanying the new hospital include two operating rooms and a centralized nursing station, as well as dietary and laundry services for the Senior Suites located adjacent to the entrance to the building.
Many people are spending less time in the hospital, instead finding care in their own homes. SMC CEO Darrold Bertsch said that the new hospital is designed to facilitate these patients through its centralized services and easy access to registration.
“This is a way for us to model patient care with an out-patient model,” Bertsch said.
The new hospital will have a spacious entryway and galleria, complete with a small cafe. Bertsch said he believes the design for the entryway will make the new hospital feel “less sterile” and more “open and welcoming.”
The current hospital, Bertsch emphasized, has done very well in its services. However, the building is 44 years old and due for renovation. There has been no objection in the community.

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