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Avera breaks ground

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Members of Avera Medical Group, Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and Worthington City Council conducted a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday morning at the site of the new Avera facility already under construction in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- With the wind at their backs and a light drizzle from the morning fog, representatives from Avera Medical Group were joined by the Worthington Chamber Ambassadors Saturday in a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of a new $16 million, three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility on Ryan's Road in Worthington.

A gold colored shovel resting at his side, Dr. David Kapaska, regional president of Avera-McKennan Hospital, said the ceremony was obviously a bit late -- referring to the towering steel beams in the background --but no one could have predicted such a mild winter that would allow work crews to begin construction by mid-March.

Kapaska called the day the beginning of a new chapter of health care in the community, and explained that in another year -- less if weather allows -- the doors will open to the new medical center.

Constructed with future growth in mind, he said the facility will house family practice and internal medicine, as well as specialties including surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and behavioral health.

"With this new building will come exciting new service additions, including an outpatient surgery center, physical therapy and home medical equipment," he added. "The clinic will continue to offer on-site lab and diagnostic services, and there's plenty of room for future growth as needs are identified."

The new Avera Medical Group Worthington facility will be one of the largest multi-specialty clinics in Avera McKennan's four-state region.

Avera has had a presence in Worthington for the past 14 years, in a clinic that includes the original portion opened in April 1918 by doctors B.O. Mork and F.G. Watson.

"Part of the older building required major renovation," Kapaska said. "To be prepared for the future, it was imperative to (build)."

The clinic has served the community for nearly 100 years, and Kapaska said the new facility is a commitment by Avera Medical Group to remain here for years to come.

"A strong thread running through the decades is a commitment to serve the Worthington community with quality medical care," he said. "This is a commitment that Avera shares, and so we're proud to continue our partnership with the physicians and staff of Avera Medical Group Worthington."

Worthington isn't the only community where Avera is making improvements to its facilities. New clinics are being constructed in both Flandreau and Miller, S.D., and others are being upgraded in the region. The Avera Medical Group network includes 14 hospitals and 63 clinics in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and South Dakota.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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