Taking Care of Business, To Take Care of People

The Greater St. Peter area receives an injection of $46 million dollars that will expand not only the hospital there, but the local economy as well.

“Solid infrastructure and modern healthcare facilities play a key role in the economic sustainability of rural communities – attracting new businesses, retaining population and providing opportunities for future growth,” says Brad Finstad, State Director for USDA Rural Development. “Not only will these services benefit local St. Peter residents, but they will also address the regional healthcare needs of surrounding communities for years to come.” The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan recently announced it would help finance expansion of the hospital, but this is the culmination of a story that started long ago.

It was in 1938, long before the health care issues of our modern world came into play. Forward-thinking leaders of the city of St. Peter wanted to provide medical care for it residents and opened St. Peter Community Hospital. Starting with 38 beds, the hospital has added rooms and services over the last eight decades as well as gone through a name change or two. But it has always remained city owned. Today, River’s Edge is one of just 956 community-owned facilities, out of more than 5,500 total hospitals according to the American Hospital Association. Again, forward-thinking city leaders have found a way to partner with others to make sure the Greater St. Peter area doesn’t have to travel elsewhere for quality health care.

“In the past 5 years River’s Edge Hospital has experienced tremendous growth due to the partnership with The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic to create OrthoEdge, our joint replacement program,” says Stephanie Holden, Chief Marketing and Development Officer. “Because of this partnership, there has been growth in all services we provide at River’s Edge.”

Because of that growth, River’s Edge is in the beginning stages of an expansion project on the St. Peter Campus. The project includes renovation of existing space to expand the surgery department, expand the physical and occupational therapy department, add a café and patient dining service. New construction includes two new patient wings that will increase our bed capacity from 17 to 25, and a new emergency department, emergency medical services and new urgent care department.

With more space for patients we have the opportunity to not only continue the services we currently provide, but add services that will benefit the St. Peter area community.”

The main entrance of the hospital will also relocate from the south side of the building to the east side, allowing for one main, secure entrance and a convenient drop-off/pick-up location for patients. Site work for the project began on May 4.

“The project is designed to be done in phases which allows us to continue to provide services with minimal disruption. Each phase has targeted completion date and total project completion is expected by June 2020,” says Holden.

The project includes 35,500 square feet of renovation and 31,700 square feet of new construction. The total cost of the project is $33.8 million and is being funded through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan.

The expansion is not only adding more space and more services, but more jobs into the community as well.

“At this time we are anticipating hiring more than 20 new staff members. These positions range from nursing, physical and occupational therapy, dining services, and other support staff,” Holden says.

Funding for the facility came in the form of a $33.3 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities direct loan and a $5 million commercial loan through partnership with Peoples Bank Midwest. River’s Edge will contribute $7.6 million to the total $46 million project. Nearly $800,000 will go towards health e-connectivity in the form of nurse call, video, voice and data technology and approximately $160,000 will go towards resources for rural mental and behavioral health services.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic continues to provide quality care to nearly 46,000 patients throughout the greater St. Peter area including Nicollet, LeSueur and portions of Sibley and Blue Earth counties. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local Area Office by visiting rd.usda.gov/mn.

Lisa Cownie

Editor of Connect Business Magazine