Building something new

Tri-County Health Care plans on opening a $69 million clinic by May along U.S. Highway 10 northwest of Wadena.

Tri-County Health Care is planning to start construction of a $69 million clinic by May at a 76-acre site along U.S. Highway 10 northwest of downtown Wadena.

According to Tri-County Health Care Foundation director Ryan Damlo, the 123,000 square foot facility will be located on 76 acres of land in Otter Tail County just east of AgReliant, formerly known as Wensman Seed. It is expected to open in March, 2023.

Damlo said TCHC will maintain the present clinic and hospital facility, built in 1974, along North Jefferson Street along with Wesley Hospital, located directly across the street from the clinic, a building dating back to 1925.

A host of changes in the way the medical arts are carried out has lent itself to the building of the new facility, which will have only 15 beds. Damlo said the need for bed space has been markedly reduced over the last 46 years. Patients who once had to expect a week-long stay in the hospital are not out in a day or two.

“Beds were 90% of our business back then,” Damlo said.

The first choice of a home for the new facility was the Wadena County Fairgrounds, just a few blocks northwest of the present medical complex but an arrangement could not be reached.

Present plans for future use of the Jefferson Street facilities include 30,000 square feet for support services. Other options may include a home for Behavioral Health, the Wadena County Historical Society, a business incubator and space for lease options.

“A lot of our staff won’t go to the new facility,” Damlo said. “They will stay here on this campus.”

While moving the site of the new facility out of Wadena was a touchy one, Damlo pointed out the City of Wadena has annexed the land where the new facility will be built.

In addition to its Wadena campus, Tri-County Health Care presently maintains clinics in five other communities in Otter Tail, Wadena and Todd Counties.

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