LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)— Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital is getting a new facility.
It's thanks, in part, to a $32 million low interest loan from the USDA Rural Development Program. The total cost of the new hospital is $50 million, so the hospital is also utilizing other loans and cash reserves.
The existing hospital was built in 1957 and there have been 11 additions over the last 55 years. But now there is no more room to expand and the building no longer meets space and technology needs.
"We are currently land locked," said hospital CEO Bill Sexton. "We're surrounded by buildings that create a barrier for us to move and do things we'd like to do here."
In fact, there isn't even room for parking lots. The hospital rents space from the school district and a local church.
The new facility will be 137,000 square feet; about 50 percent larger than the existing one.
"Our new emergency facility will have to ambulance bays, we'll have a helicopter landing site, on the property itself and not in a church parking lot," Sexton said.
And patients will have more privacy; instead of doubles, all the rooms will be singles.
"So many times here we have to move chairs in and out for our families and this, there will automatically be a space," said Deb Smith, a registered nurse. "So I'm looking so forward to that part."
Smith says staff was consulted in the building plans; touring mock-ups of the rooms and providing feedback. She says each room will now have a spot from computers and tools.
"Our equipment is not always where we need it to be," Smith said. "We have to leave the room, leave the bedside to go get those things."
The location of the new hospital will also be more accessible to rural counties in both southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.
"It is the highest traffic area in the whole community," Sexton said. "And with 105 acres, we'll be able to grow and do wonderful things form a healthcare and point."
The groundbreaking for the new hospital is set for June 10 and it should be complete by the fall of 2014.
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