Windom Area Hospital expands
WINDOM — Windom Area Hospital (WAH) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday to celebrate the beginning of an expansion project approved in March.
The groundbreaking marks the physical work of a project that will include a new building that will house the surgery department and outreach clinic, as well as a main entrance, lobby and waiting area.
“We’ve been considering this project and known there was a great need for this for a long time,” said Emily Masters, Windom Area Hospital’s director of human resources and marketing. “The majority of our current revenue — 84 percent to be exact — comes from outpatient care, so when we were looking at expanding we knew we had to make that a focus. That is what our community benefits from and utilizes the most.”Masters also explained the need for updating and expanding the surgery department of the hospital. Seven inpatient rooms will also be added to the department.“The surgery room is original to the facility so it needs some updating, and the current size of the surgery rooms are 300 square feet,” Masters said. “We will be expanding those rooms to 600 square feet to make sure there is enough room for the new equipment that will be added.”Outpatient rooms are extremely critical to WAH, according to Masters, and making room for visiting specialists is a key component in the expansion.“We have various visiting specialists that come in so our patients can see a specialist right in town versus driving somewhere else, but right now the current space for the specialists is very tight,” Masters said. “Our registration space also is cramped, and doesn’t give patients enough privacy when filling out information.
“The expansion is adding enough room so that three visiting physicians can come in anytime they want and not be so cramped with the other visiting specialists, and so there is enough privacy for the registration area” she added.The project will be working in three phases. The first phase is relocation of the current helipad and construction of new parking lots, which is scheduled to begin shortly after Monday’s groundbreaking.“In order to get a new helipad, we had to relocate our current one,” Masters explained.Phase two includes the new building’s foundation and structure, which is scheduled to begin in November. The last phase encompasses the interior, exterior and remodeling, which will commence in December.“I think the most apparent change to passersby is the main entrance,” Masters said. “The expansion is also including a new main entrance with a canopy, and so patients and visitors will be coming in a new entrance that will face the highway.”Masters said the old entrance will still be used for the wellness center and rehab patients.“The new entrance will be the new face of the hospital,” Masters said.The scheduled completion of the entire project is July 2015, with an additional 22,000 square feet to be added to WAH overall.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.