$4.5 million expansion is in the works at hospital in Benson
BENSON -- Work is expected to begin next spring on a $4.5 million, 12,000 square-foot expansion at Swift County-Benson Hospital in Benson. The project will include adding two surgical suites, a surgical procedure room, six recovery rooms, patient...
BENSON -- Work is expected to begin next spring on a $4.5 million, 12,000 square-foot expansion at Swift County-Benson Hospital in Benson.
The project will include adding two surgical suites, a surgical procedure room, six recovery rooms, patient preparation, education and exam rooms, consulting offices, a waiting room and reception area. Changes will also be made to the kitchen and dining rooms, said Frank Lawatsch, CEO of the hospital.
The addition will be on the west side of the existing hospital entrance, in what is now a parking lot. The hospital has purchased three homes on Wisconsin Avenue. One of the homes has already been moved from the site. Demolition of the other two houses is expected to begin next week. The area will be paved for a 57-car parking lot next spring. The current lot contains 17 parking spots.
Another key element to the project is creating a patient- and staff-only corridor between the surgical center and the patient rooms in another wing of the hospital, Lawatsch said. The corridor will help maintain patient privacy. The impetus for the project is the changing nature of surgery, Lawatsch said. The surgeons, who provide outreach services, simply need more space.
"With the surgeons we have coming here, we simply need larger operating rooms," Lawatsch said, noting that the new surgical suites will be 625 square-feet, compared to about 280 square-feet in the existing operating rooms.
The new facility will allow surgeons to perform more extensive operations. Currently, about 80 percent of the surgeries performed are on an out-patient basis. The hospital is licensed for 31 in-patient beds.
The hospital is owned by Swift County and the City of Benson and managed by Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. In September, the Swift County Board approved up to $7 million in general obligation bonds for the project. Lawatsch expects bids to be let for the project by the end of January, with work beginning in the spring. The construction is expected to take one year to complete.
Staffing levels are not expected to change due to the expansion, Lawatsch said. However, staff will be more efficient, since the patient preparation and surgical rooms will be next door to each other.
The hospital includes a portion built in 1949 and a wing built in 1973. The existing operating rooms are in the 1949 area of the building.
"There's been a whole lot of change in that number of years," Lawatsch said.
The hospital finished a $2.3 million project in 2003 to move and enlarge the physical therapy department, relocate the emergency room to the front of the facility, add an in-house CT unit and do cosmetic work at the facility. The project included a capital campaign that raised $960,000 in community donations.
Benson is a progressive town, Lawatsch said, and community feedback on the planning for the project is very positive.
"The people feel that we are addressing the needs that have been identified," he said.