Avera Medical Minute ASH: Northern Lights Expansion Taking Shape - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute ASH: Northern Lights Expansion Taking Shape

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Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is looking to shine a new light on healthcare, a Northern Light to be precise. The hospital is undertaking a multimillion dollar building project dubbed the Northern Lights expansion.

If you live in Yankton you've probably already seen and heard the commotion over at Avera Sacred Heart. But to those outside the city by the river, it's their first look at the hospital's Northern Lights expansion.

"It's a new three story addition there are just under 40,000 square feet of new space and about 2600 square feet of space in the old building that will be renovated." Said Doug Ekeren, Vice President of Planning and Development.

The $17.3 Million expansion project is a combination of the need for more space and the need to update. Once completed the hospital will have a new sleep lab, pharmacy, cafeteria, and room for countless other programs and services. With Avera Sacred Heart being one of three teaching hospitals in the state, the new building will also house the residency program and classrooms for training the next generation of health care professionals.

"It allows us to be more efficient in the services we deliver and meeting those expectations but because of the impact on technology it will allow us to have a safer healthcare environment." Said Ekeren.

These constant noises are just one of the small inconveniences those at the hospital have had to endure the past few months.

"We've asked our people to be patient we try to minimize the day to day disruption as much as possible but just like if you're doing a project at home there are times when you're going to have inconveniences whether it's noise or dust or whatever but we're going to great lengths to avoid those disruptions and keep the project moving on." Said Ekeren.

The Northern Lights expansion project is still several months from being completed but hospital employees say they are excited to see the project taking shape and have fun counting everyone of those last beams. With the steel framework nearly finished, hospital workers all got the chance to put their mark, literally, on the new building. The freshly "tattooed" beam will be the last one that engineers put into place.

The expansion may have been prompted by the need for more space but the new building will also be leaving the door open for the next breakthrough in modern medicine.

"There's always something new in healthcare whether it's new diagnostic tools or a new way to treat patients so we want to have that expansion space because you don't know what that new program or service will be in 3 years or 5 years and this gives us the flexibility to have that space ready to provide that service to our community." said Ekeren.

The project is on target to be completed January 1, 2014 and you can bet that every doctor, nurse, and hospital volunteer will be more than happy to have a little peace and quiet; not mention a decent parking spot.

Why the name Northern Lights? The new building is located on the Northwest corner of the existing hospital and the facility will have several windows to allow in plenty of natural light.

For more information about the Northern Lights expansion just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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