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Avera Marshall to launch $6.5M remodel

Medical center plans to consolidate; won’t go back to Carlson Street campus

Photo by Sam Thiel This photo taken Wednesday shows the entrance to Avera Marshall on Bruce Street in Marshall. Avera Marshall announced it’s planning a $6.5 million remodel of its campus.

MARSHALL — Avera Marshall Medical Center has gone through a lot of building changes over the past few years — and now they’re gearing up for another project, Avera spokespeople said Tuesday.

Avera Marshall announced it’s planning a $6.5 million remodel of its campus on Bruce Street. The remodeling project is proposed to start in December, and Avera Marshall Regional President and CEO Mary Maertens said more finalized plans will be coming in the next month.

“We will reconfigure and modernize some portions of the building to fit the way we deliver care today, and relocate some services to provide easier access for patients,” Maertens said. Some planned changes include moving physical and occupational therapy services to a more convenient location, and moving urgent care closer to the Emergency Department.

The remodel will also consolidate Avera Marshall down to one campus. Maertens said Avera Marshall will not be going back to providing outpatient care at its Carlson Street campus, although the building could still be used if needed for response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Maertens said some of the remodeling work is planned to make it easier and more comfortable for patients to access care. For example, Avera Marshall plans to build a second public elevator in the hospital to help cut down on wait times, and they plan move physical and occupational therapy services to the corner of Bruce Street and East College Drive to make them easier to get to. Other changes were a matter of putting services in places that worked better, like moving urgent care and emergency care closer together.

“We’ll be able to move between those two departments readily. The teams will be working together very closely, and then when someone presents to urgent care that really needs to be in the Emergency Department, then we’re able to transition them within that team,” Maertens said.

While Maertens said the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis created an opportunity to think about how much real estate Avera Marshall needed to have, the decision not to go back to the Carlson Street campus was something that had been considered since Avera and the Marshall ACMC location merged.

“I think we always aspired to have a single medical campus,” Maertens said. As Avera Marshall and ACMC became a new entity, they were looking at factors like duplication of services, and the ability to add other specialist services.

“Consolidating to one campus will be the best use of our resources. When the Avera and ACMC practices came together a year and a half ago, we knew we would need to make this transition at some point. We didn’t anticipate it would be so soon, but COVID-19 accelerated the timeline,” said Dr. Steve Meister, chief medical officer at Avera Marshall. “We know members of the community and our own team miss receiving and providing care at that location, however these enhancements at the Bruce Street campus will provide a better experience, streamlined care and better continuity of care for all our patients.”

Maertens said Avera Marshall is working with the city of Marshall and the Marshall Economic Development Authority to took at possible new uses for the Carlson Street building in the future. However, for now the building is still part of Avera Marshall’s COVID-19 plans, should they need additional space to care for a surge of patients.

Maertens said the remodeling work would take about a year to finish. In addition to relocating urgent care and physical and occupational therapy, the project will allow Avera Marshall to develop space for cardiology care, and remodel space for diabetes education, visiting specialists and a Coumadin clinic.

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