Avera Health announces largest expansion in system history
Avera Health announces largest expansion in system history

Avera Health in Sioux Falls will begin work on its largest construction project in all of Avera’s more than 120 years, as well as Sioux Falls’ history of expanding hospital patient care space. This new 350,000-square-foot development, totaling $245 million, was announced at a press conference Wednesday morning by system health administrators at the Avera Prairie Center.

Part one of two for this project will be a six-story tower in addition to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, located at 1325 S. Cliff Avenue. Through the new main entrance that this structure will provide, Avera will be able to offer a centralized, dedicated space to expand its women’s and children’s emergency and hospital services.

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The second of this endeavor will be the construction of a three-story Avera on Louise Health Campus structure at 69th Street and Louise Avenue. This new building will be for digestive health services only.

Avera President and CEO Jim Dover, FACHE and Avera McKennan Regional President and CEO Dr. Ronald Place were joined by Dr. Catherine Wang of Neonatology and philanthropist and civic volunteer Jennifer Kirby to share the news.

The moment showed different images of what is planned for the two big projects. Mock-ups of pediatric and postpartum hospital rooms were also available.

“This project is important to all 300 Avera locations. Our tertiary care hospital is fundamental to the quality of care we are able to provide as an interconnected system,” said Dover. “Years of planning and research have gone into evidence-based care for the population we serve, and I am confident that the project will benefit patients for generations to come.”

Sioux Falls grew by an estimated 2.5 percent annually, increasing by more than 100,000 residents over the next 15 years, according to metropolitan statistics.

“The rapid growth of our Sioux Falls community is exciting, and it also means that Avera McKennan must grow with it,” Place said. “We are looking to the future and preparing to take care of people in our growing region.”

As a result, the expansion will create 158 more beds for Sioux Falls patients now and in the future, as well as the increased need for medical services for the aging Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

As the largest woman-founded organization in the area, Avera “has a full depth of women’s specialty care” that includes obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, urogynecology and internal medicine.

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Another area of ​​growth that Avera has seen over the past 20 years is pediatrics. Avera has a total of 25 general pediatricians, 10 of whom practice in Sioux Falls. There is also a significant amount of subspecialties that Avera Pediatrics offers such as Cardiology, Critical Care/ICU and Trauma, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology, Orthopedics and Pulmonology/Sleep Medicine. Avera family physicians are also there to provide ongoing care for children.

The six-story tower planned for Avera’s main campus will allow all of this to exist in one building, as well as expand other services critical to women’s and children’s health, including childbirth, postpartum care, a newborn nursery, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric hospital care and pediatric intensive care.

“As a father of four children who needed care early in life, I know there’s always a decision of ‘Should I stay or should I go elsewhere?'” Dover said. “The best care is always when you can stay in your own home and have your family’s support group close by.”

Referring to Avera’s expansion project, Dover also said, “It’s the best of both worlds, but our quality is first-rate.”

Currently, Avera’s gastroenterology services are performed at Avera Specialized Hospital and the adjacent medical building. The new building at the Avera on Louise Health Campus will provide a new and more expansive location for digestive services. Once these services move into the new space, the Specialty Hospital will become Avera’s primary location for its ever-growing orthopedic services.

To make room for the new orthopedic area, the Plaza 3 building on the Avera McKennan campus will be removed. The Avera Transplant Institute and Dialysis Center are currently located here, but will be relocated, with their exact location yet to be announced.

For Avera employees, these projects will add more employees to Sioux Falls, Dover said.

“That means…we’re going to continue to have significant growth in our workforce here,” Dover said.

Dover also said that as part of this workforce expansion, the region can expect an additional 150 doctors over the next three years.

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“So when you can build clinical spaces that allow really extraordinary people to collaborate, to work better together, to do it faster, it just allows that clinical excellence to continue to improve,” Place said . “So I believe … we’re matching the outstanding staff that we have with a building that not only supports that, but allows that to be engaged.”

Construction is expected to begin in mid-to-late summer on both campuses. Demolition will take several weeks, and Avera officials expect construction to take place over the next two and a half years, Place said.

The Avera on Louise project is expected to be completed by early 2026. The main campus construction effort will wrap up in early 2027.

“It’s been a privilege to speak and develop a project that will take a truly outstanding organization and make it even better in support of this community,” said Place, who spent 35 years in the military before returning to the South Dakota. “My parents still live in the area, my mother-in-law still lives in the area and our youngest son and grandchildren live here. To come back home and be a part of this community project is just, it’s a dream come true for me. “

Learn more about these upcoming projects at Avera.org/McKennan-Future.

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