Avera Gregory to Move Ahead with New Health Campus
After a delay due to COVID-19, Avera and Avera Gregory Hospital leaders are moving forward with plans to build a new hospital, clinic and long-term care center on 20 acres of land east of Gregory on U.S. Highway 18.
This $35.7 million project will integrate a 17-bed hospital, 30-bed long-term care center and a clinic that will accommodate up to 10 local providers and visiting outreach specialists, inside space totaling 88,000 square feet.
“This will be one health campus in Gregory where we can more efficiently integrate all of our care. This concept will eliminate duplication of services such as laboratory and imaging, said Tony Timanus, CEO of Avera Gregory Hospital. “It will double our current space and accommodate the latest technology and evidence-based medical practices.”
Features include a 24-hour emergency room, diagnostic imaging center, larger surgical suite and post-surgical rooms, enhanced dialysis center, helipad and connection to telemedicine services.
“We have raised $3.525 million – exceeding our goal of $3 million. We are amazed at the generosity of many donors who have come forward to invest in this project that will help ensure that we have state-of-the-art health care, here in Gregory, for decades to come,” Timanus said. Avera will provide $9 million from its capital budget and the remainder will be financed over time.
Repairing the aging facilities in Gregory would have cost over $10 million. “In addition, health care is changing. More care is done on an outpatient basis than in years past. Our local hospital sees 13,000 outpatient visits per year compared to less than 600 inpatient visits. Due to expansion of our local health care services, our facilities are bursting at the seams,” Timanus said.
“It was a decision between investing in our aging facilities that do not accommodate the most efficient and effective care models for rural health care – or building a new facility that will be able to serve us for decades into the future,” he added.
When originally planned a year ago, cost of this project was around $33 million. Building costs have increased, and since that time, the design has been updated, thanks to lessons learned during COVID-19. This includes negative pressure rooms, security measures and improved workflow for emergency services. “While construction costs have increased, financing rates are favorable, still making this an optimal time to build,” Timanus added.
“Avera Gregory has been nationally recognized for our quality of care. Having a modern facility to match our high quality will help with physician and employee recruitment and retention, because it will give well-qualified health care professionals a quality place in which to practice medicine,” Timanus said.
Groundbreaking is planned for late April. The long-term care center is expected to be complete in summer of 2022 and the hospital and clinic in fall of 2023.