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RC Hospital and Clinics in Renville County, Minn., selects site for new facility

OLIVIA -- A 43-acre site on the east edge of Olivia is tagged as the possible home for a new RC Hospital and Clinics facility.

The Renville County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday authorizing the county-owned RC Hospital and Clinics to enter into a purchase option agreement for the land. It is located on the south side of U.S. Highway 212, and currently used as farmland.

The hospital has negotiated the purchase option from two parties. Jackie's Farms II LLC owns approximately 26 acres and Floyd and Lois Palmer the remainder.

The hospital is moving forward with a proposed $24 million project to replace its existing complex in Olivia.

The RC Hospital and Clinics is seeking financing through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. Nathan Blad, RC Hospital and Clinics CEO, told the commissioners he is optimistic that the financing will be obtained.

Having a site chosen for the new campus was one of the requirements to apply for the financing.

The hospital board hopes to have a formal application ready for the USDA this summer. If all goes as planned, ground could be broken in April 2014, and a new facility opened in late 2015 or early 2016.

The RC Hospital and Clinics had been considering sites in Olivia for a new campus. The current facility is landlocked. The system includes the hospital and clinic in Olivia and clinics in Hector and Renville.

The new site allows plenty of room for any future expansion. It also opens up the possibility for co-occupation by related activities, such as an assisted living or nursing care facility.

Direct access to U.S. Highway 212 and the availability of city utilities are also advantages offered by the site, according to Blad.

The hospital has also recently retained McGough of St. Paul to serve as general contractor for the project.

Blad told the commissioners that the hospital has also been working with the project architects, Pope Architects, to revise the original plans for the facility.

The new plans reduce the overall size from 62,000 to 61,000 square feet, but increase the number of clinic exam rooms from 15 to 18. The sizes of administrative offices and hallways have been reduced to make the change possible.

Blad said the focus is on expanding the ability to increase the outpatient services offered in the new facility. The new plans designate interior space for a magnetic resonance imaging machine, which would end the current reliance on a mobile unit.

Tom Cherveny

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

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