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 [UPDATED]

Published 9:17am Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Updated 11:19am Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When the Elbow Lake campus of the Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services moved to its current facility in the 1960s, some community members helped make the push for the new facility. Now, 50 years later, some of those same people are witnessing another move.

Prairie Ridge is in the middle of a $22 million project, building its new hospital on 24 acres along State Highway 79. More space and state-of-the-art facilities to offer expanded Hospital services will help staff better serve needs, said Missy Wetterling, Director of Marketing for Prairie Ridge.

“Our mission at Prairie Ridge is to serve the health needs of the people, and we see this new facility as a tool to carry out our mission,” Wetterling said. “We plan to offer new and expanded services at the new facility. Our goal is to bring services to this area instead of patients having to travel somewhere else.”

The hospital leases the building it occupies from Grant County. Several years ago hospital officials started to looking at options to expand. Originally a hospital with a nursing home wing, as Prairie Ridge grew, it required more space.

After determining it would cost $18 million to update the facility, it was decided a new building would be worth the slightly higher cost. The upgraded facility will be twice the square footage of the old building.

“Everybody here is very excited. This facility has served us well over the last 50 years, but a new facility will allow for greater efficiency and a more comfortable patient experience,” Wetterling said.

The new hospital also will feature family-centered patient care, with private hospital rooms and comfortable places for family members during extended stays.

With the wider range of specialty procedures and extra space, Wetterling said that the expansion could also mean new jobs for the area. Prairie Ridge employs more than 150 between the five campuses in Elbow Lake, Ashby, Evansville, Hoffman and Morris.

“We witness on a daily basis how important local access to quality health care is in rural communities like ours and with this new facility we hope to ensure that it remains here for generations to come,” Wetterling said.

According to Wetterling, the community is excited about the project as well. As a non-profit hospital, Prairie Ridge will not use taxpayer money for the project and has secured a long-term USDA loan. The community’s support helped ensure the USDA that the money from the loan would be a benefit to the area.

As of May 1, 90 percent of the exterior framing on the project was complete. The project started last October and will be completed in 2014.

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