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Avera St. Luke’s History

A diphtheria epidemic at the turn of the century in Aberdeen, SD, led to the beginning of what is now Avera St. Luke's Hospital.

The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary were fulfilling their calling as teachers by operating a school. When the epidemic struck, they converted their classrooms to sick wards and served the community until the epidemic subsided.

Doctors and citizens of Aberdeen then asked the Sisters to establish a hospital. On Oct. 18, 1901, St. Luke's Hospital, a 15-bed facility, was dedicated as the first health care facility of the Presentation Sisters, who would go on to establish hospitals in Mitchell and Sioux Falls, SD, and Miles City, MT, within the next 10 years.

St. Luke's Hospital expanded in 1903, 1907 and 1913, before building an expanded facility in 1928 with a capacity of 159 beds.

Avera St. Luke’s Timeline

  • 1940s: In response to a polio epidemic in the region, St. Luke's became the Center for the National Foundation for Polio.
  • 1963: St. Luke's Hospital was the focus of national and international headlines when the Fischer quintuplets were born. Guards were posted to protect the family from swarms of reporters.
  • 1972: The South Wing was added to the 1928 building, creating a new entrance with a large lobby, admissions and business office areas, cafeteria, as well as new patient rooms.
  • 1988: St. Luke's consolidated with Dakota Midland Hospital.
  • 1993: A new East Wing was constructed, housing emergency, admissions, surgery, outpatient services, dialysis, cardiac rehab and cardiac/angiography lab, MRI exam room and laboratory.
  • 1994: The hospital merged with the long-term care facilities at Mother Joseph Manor.
  • 1997: Davis Court Apartments were completed adjacent to Mother Joseph Manor, offering retirement living facilities with health services.
  • 1998: St. Luke’s announced a merger with United Clinic, a primary care physician clinic.
  • 2000: Nano Nagle Village, an assisted living facility adjacent to Mother Joseph Manor, was completed.
  • St. Luke’s Hospital became Avera St. Luke’s with the formation of Avera Health.
  • 2005: Avera St. Luke's Physical & Aquatic Therapy Center opened, including the region's largest warm water therapy pool.
  • 2006: Construction was completed on a four-story, 70,000-square-foot hospital addition that houses ICU and the BirthPlace, as well as physician clinics. Also constructed were a free-standing imaging center and medical office building.
  • 2008: New State Street Medical Square, a medical office building, was completed near the hospital.
  • 2009: A surgical remodeling project included seven new operating suites and same-day surgery area.
  • 2012: A 14,000-square-foot addition to Avera St. Luke’s Therapy Center opened, combining all outpatient rehabilitation therapy services in one centralized location near the hospital.
  • 2015: The Don & Carmen Meyer Center of Excellence was dedicated as the new home of Avera Cancer Institute Aberdeen.

As in the past and into the future, Avera St. Luke’s continues to place an emphasis on technological sophistication and medical expertise along with compassionate care in order to provide quality, holistic health services.

Moving Health Forward

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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