Weather Forecast


RC Hospital in west central Minnesota moving toward decision on building project

OLIVIA — A decision on whether to move forward with a proposal to build a new Renville County hospital and clinic facility will likely be made by month’s end.

Nathan Blad, interim administrator for the county-owned RC Hospital and Clinics, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that he would be bringing a resolution for consideration to the board’s April 16 work session, with hopes that members would take action at their meeting one week later.

An estimated $24 million project to construct a new RC Hospital and Clinics health care facility, on a site to be determined in Olivia, is proposed.

The current hospital is in Olivia, and clinics are operated in Olivia, Hector and Renville.

Blad said the hospital board is hopeful of obtaining financing for the project through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. To do so, it needs to have a formal application ready in July.

Hospital officials are optimistic about obtaining USDA financing, according to Blad. “It sounds like the funds are there,’’ he said.

If the upcoming application period is missed, the hospital would have to wait for a considerable amount of time before funds might be available again, he added.

The hospital is seeking USDA funding for the lower interest rates available. USDA funding would also not require a commitment of county taxpayer support.

Letting people know that the county-owned hospital does not receive taxpayer support — and is not asking for it as part of this project — have been among the objectives of a recent outreach campaign.

Commissioner Randy Kramer, of rural Bird Island, said the RC Hospital and Clinics’ “biggest asset’’ has been its employees, who have attended the outreach sessions and discussed the project with neighbors and friends.

Since the campaign began, Kraemer said he’s heard from some who were originally skeptical and now tell him: “This does make sense.’’

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335