Eureka residents raise $2M in six months for brand new hospital

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EUREKA, S.D. The only acute care facility in McPherson County is getting a complete makeover. Residents in Eureka raised around $2 million in just six months to fund the project.

The current Eureka hospital is a three-story building built back in 1929.

"So when the ambulance comes up, they pull up on the basement level, have to go through several hallways around to the elevator and then go up to the second floor, go down some hallways some more to the ER so it's a long trip," Eureka Community Health Services Avera Administrator Carmen Weber said.

The new facility has been in the works for a long time.

"We've been talking about this for like I said up to 12 years we've been looking at this," Eureka Hospital Board President Wayne Lutz said.

A capital campaign committee was formed a few years ago. Members of the committee were picked because they were known to be responsible and well-respected by the community. The committee then went through a list of names.

"We chose 10 people maybe who we were going to approach individually and ask for some monetary donations and contributions to the hospital," Capital Campaign Committee Co-Chair Nina Kunz said.

After that step went well, the committee went door-to-door in Eureka.

"We were able to do a lot of door to door askings," Kunz said. "The people were very receptive. As it turns out, they were more than generous. We were able to come up with twice the money that we were asked to raise."

The consultant company gave the committee one year to raise $1 million. After six months of campaigning, they raised around $2 million.

The new hospital will sit right next to the nursing home - all on one floor.

"It will have six outpatient cubicles. It, however, will have a two bay emergency room. We will continue to do cataracts and scopes, so it will have a procedure room as well as a surgical suite," Weber said. "We're adding a new feature which is a CT scanner which we currently don't have in our old facility."

Right now, the CT scanner is a mobile unit that comes once a week, so having one around 24/7 will be a huge improvement. There will be an 8-exam room clinic, an assisted-living portion in between the nursing home and the hospital, a larger therapy area, and more space for cardiac rehab patients.

Construction on the new Eureka hospital started last July. It's expected to be ready for patients by the end of this summer.