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  • Site Selected for new Milbank Hospital and Clinic

Published on April 10, 2013

Site Selected for new Milbank Hospital and Clinic


MILBANK, S.D. (April 10, 2013) – The Foundation Board of Milbank Area Hospital Avera announces the selection and purchase of land for the new hospital and clinic. Eighteen acres near the State Auto Building have been purchased by the Northeast South Dakota Healthcare Foundation.  The land is located between the State Auto building and the American Lutheran Church.

“After looking at many sites throughout the community – a number of which would be ideal but for one reason or another didn't work out – I firmly believe we have come up with what is the best site available,” said Jim Gesswein, Foundation Board chairman.

Sites were analyzed based on criteria such as available infrastructure, proximity to infrastructure and schools and residential neighborhoods for emergency routes, easy access for vehicles and pedestrians, and general visibility and connection to the Milbank community.  Consideration was given to community input that was received.  “Board members and community representatives have taken tours of recently built facilities in South Dakota and Minnesota. In making these tours we found that location and visibility are highly important,” Gesswein said.

“Now that we know the location, the next steps include design development,” said Natalie Gauer, administrator of Milbank Area Hospital Avera. “As of now we are planning on breaking ground the spring of 2014 and the facility will take 15-18 months to build.  At this point, our estimated completion date is fall 2015.” The architectural firm Perspective of Sioux Falls has been chosen for the project. Perspective has partnered with BWBR of St. Paul, Minn., to develop a master plan.  A public forum will be scheduled shortly to gather community input on design and service issues.

In November 2011, the decision was made to go forward with building a new facility for the Milbank hospital and clinic. Estimated cost is $17.8 million for a 60,000-75,000-square-foot building. Goals of the new facility include quality patient care, a focus on technology, expanded space, an environment that is inviting and patient-friendly, easy way-finding and additional space for outreach specialty care. “A capital campaign in the Milbank community is planned to assist with construction costs. Savings have been held in reserve in anticipation of this project, and interest rates are very favorable, making this the right time to build our new facility,” Gauer said.

The current hospital building was originally built in 1969, with the last major renovation occurring in 1997. The Foundation, acting on behalf of the community, purchased the existing facility from the Daughters of St. Mary’s of Providence in June of 2002. The current clinic building which houses Avera Medical Group Milbank was constructed in 1983. Under the Foundation ownership, together with Avera, much of the existing equipment has been upgraded as health care technology continues to develop.  However, the board and hospital leadership have been reviewing the fact that the existing structures are inadequate to meet the current needs of the community. Avera has been in partnership with the hospital since 2002, and with the clinic since 1996.

“On the behalf of the Foundation Board I would like to thank all those involved for their interest, comments, thoughts and recommendations for a location of the new hospital and clinic. The site selection process has taken a lot of time and effort, but it has been well worth it. The Foundation Board is committed to making available to the community the best health care possible through assisting with physician recruitment, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and updated facilities – all of which are possible through our relationship with Avera McKennan,” Gesswein said.