If you've driven by the Avera McKennan campus in Sioux Falls lately on Cliff Avenue your eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful falls outside the new Prairie Center, home of the new Avera Cancer Institute. With 2000 gallons of water going over the water falls every minute, it's definitely making a splash visually and literally.
Erik Helland and his crew from Landscape Garden Centers said city and federal law, and a wet summer made this one of his most challenging water projects to date. It's also the biggest.
Helland co-owner of Landscape Garden Centers says, "This collects water from 100 acres of Sioux Falls and all that storm water has to go through this detention facility and basically instead of having it turn into a slough, for the lack of a better term. We basically made it ascetically pleasing."
They constructed the falls out of quartzite indigenous to this area and used an actual spot of the falls to replicate. It took 1200 tons of rock, 100 yards of concrete for stabilization and months of pain staking labor.
Helland says, "In this case we needed to re-circulate the water. The only way to do that is to pump it and that's what we are doing right now. We are pumping it and pumping it and throwing as much oxygen in the water fall to help decompose everything that's flowing into this from 100 acres.
Avera McKennan Senior Vice President of Environmental Services Dick Molseed says, "The water fall you see when you come into at the grand entrance of the building goes back to the healing nature of water. It's also in line with our foundation coming from the Presentation Benedictine Sisters and goes back to Baptism and your Christian Initiation of baptism and we think that very important."
The entire building inside and outside has a South Dakota theme. The first floor atrium goes from east river on one side to West River on the other with living plants and trees in the middle.
Molseed says, "As we were listening to our patients as we were developing the building they told us at the present time we don't have a place to get away, a place to cry. We don't have a place to decompress. That what our West River area has. It has lots of areas of solitude, lots of areas to escape with lots of nature around you."
The folks here at the Avera Cancer Institute know if you are here you probably wish you weren't so they wanted to make sure to also give you a place for respite.
If you want to see inside the Prairie Center and Avera Cancer Institute they are holding a public open house on Sunday November 7th from 1:00 to 4:00. Everyone is welcome.