Construction Wrapping Up On New Hospital In Rock Rapids

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Construction is wrapping up on the new $28 million hospital and clinic building in Rock Rapids.

We had a chance to get a construction update from general contractor Journey Construction’s job superintendent, Kevin Brockmueller. He says the project is almost complete.

He says that while Journey Construction’s job is almost done, several things will need to happen there before the facility can open in the spring.

The current local hospital owned by the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) board of trustees is leased to Sanford Health and operates as Sanford Rock Rapids. Avera will assume the lease in 2019. The George Clinic will be operated by Avera when the new lease becomes effective. MPCH owns the clinic in George and it is part of the new Avera lease.

According to MPCH board president Jim Vander Woude, Avera arranged for a physician to visit in Rock Rapids this month. He says all went well and the group involved in the tour were impressed with him. He says the physician plans to make a decision in about two months as to where he would like to practice general health.

Also, Vander Woude says that MPCH is currently researching options for the repurposing of the existing hospital campus. So far they have engaged a firm to investigate the extent of asbestos and other hazardous materials in the buildings.

Tentatively, Vander Woude says MPCH and Avera are planning on an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony in April 2019.

Meanwhile, Sanford Health is building a new clinic in northwest Rock Rapids on Highway 9, and they too plan to open in the spring.

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