Two weeks before his retirement, Hutchinson Health CEO and president Dr. Steve Mulder and his team broke ground on the hospital’s upcoming $21 million expansion.

Chief medical staff tossed shovelfuls of snow near the Cancer Center that day, but not before a word from Mulder and HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh. The hospital’s ongoing collaboration with HealthPartners made the expansion possible, Mulder said.

“We’ve been planning this for a number of years,” Mulder said. “We’ll be back here in the middle of next summer to cut the ribbon for our new inpatient care unit.”

The addition will consist of 18 to 22 new rooms, two family rooms and added support services over 18,000 square feet on the facility’s west side. The rooms will be made large enough to accommodate medical equipment and surgical and intensive care patients.

The rooms will likely house their first patients by July 2020, according to Chief Operating Officer Glen Kegley.

“The (Hutchinson Health Board of Directors) have supported this project from the very beginning and have held the leadership team accountable for doing it in a financially sustainable manner,” Mulder said.

He said more than 40 people, including patients and hospital staff, sat down for a three-day design session last summer to generate ideas for the expansion.

“What you’re going to see rise here is the result of that work and the work after that, when people have gotten down to the details,” Mulder said.

The hospital formally partnered with HealthPartners one year ago April 1. Walsh, who lined up next to Mulder during the ceremony, said HealthPartners wants to build on Hutchinson Health’s foundation in the community.

“When I think about the commitment to (community), a lot of it is about keeping care in the community,” Walsh said. “What will happen on this campus is a great example (of that).”

“We’re basically transforming how we do inpatient care, from doing modern-day care in a 1968 room to doing modern-day care in a modern-day room,” Mulder said.

According to Kegley, the project’s $21 million price is encompassing and includes the cost of equipment, construction, architecture, licensing and everything else.

The expansion is planned to free up the current patient rooms for other uses.

“I have a feeling people will be lining up,” Mulder said. “There won’t be a shortage of ideas.”

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