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Avera St. Mary's History

In 1882, Dr. D.W. Robinson had planned to practice medicine on the West Coast, but found himself in Pierre at the end of the railroad, without any means to travel west. He began caring for patients, laying the foundation for future health care services in Pierre.

At that time, Pierre was desperately in need of a school. Five Benedictine Sisters agreed to go to Pierre and began cleaning up the Park Hotel for use of a school. When health care was identified as an even greater need, they turned the former hotel into a hospital in 1899. By the 1920s, St. Mary’s was among the first hospitals in South Dakota to become accredited.

In 1930 a new hospital was built with 100 beds. In 1951 an addition for an LPN school was added, and Maryhouse Long-Term Care Facility was built in 1953. In 1988 Parkwood Independent Living Apartments was built nearby.

In 1999, a $12 million expansion of the hospital took place, allowing for better patient care, parking, and privacy. The expansion included an emergency room, ambulatory care unit, a new lobby and waiting rooms, surgery and recovery, and more. The OB unit, on the third floor of the northwest building, features Labor, Delivery, and Recovery rooms designed to feel like home 

In 1996 St. Mary's joined Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) based in Denver.

In 2004, the latest addition was completed, with an addition to the north building. Respiratory Care, Pharmacy and Kidney Dialysis were moved to the third floor and Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Services were placed on the fourth floor.

Capital University Center (CUC) is located on St. Mary's campus and offers university classes, including a two-year nursing program. A new building will house CUC on St. Mary's campus in 2008.

In 2013, St. Mary’s Healthcare Center became part of Avera Health and was renamed Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.

Today, Avera St. Mary's Hospital consists of the 60-bed acute care hospital accredited by Joint Commission, Avera Maryhouse Long-Term Care, 23-bed Transitional Care Unit and Avera Parkwood senior apartments.

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