Fairview breaks ground on future of medical care

Fairview Health Services took a giant step in charting the future of Fairview Northland Medical Center and Fairview Clinics on Monday, June 30, with the groundbreaking of the organization’s new 25,000-square-foot specialty office building.

The new facility will expand Fairview’s mission of providing quality, community care by bringing medical providers where Fairview Northland patients want it most — close to home.

Above is an artist’s rendition of the new speciality medical office that will serve Milaca-area residents on the campus of Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton. Illustration provided
Above is an artist’s rendition of the new speciality medical office that will serve Milaca-area residents on the campus of Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton.
Illustration provided

When completed, the Fairview Northland campus will be home to expanded orthopedics, cardiology, oncology and other health care services.

“We hope to get in the ground in the next couple weeks,” said John Herman, president of Fairview Northland Medical Center. Herman said the shell of the building should be complete by late fall with interior work being completed during the winter of 2014-2015.

“During the first quarter of 2015 we’ll have the ribbon-cutting,” Herman said.

A lot of people have done a lot of work to get the specialty medical office going, he said.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Betsy L. Wergin, of Princeton, a member of Fairview Health Services’ board of directors, proclaimed July 30 a great day for Fairview Northland, the Fairview system and the Princeton community.

“So many people are looking for the expansion that we are doing,” Wergin said. “All around, this is a winning day.”

Wergin, who grew up in the Milaca area, said she is in her 60s and recalled how when she was 16 years old, she needed emergency surgery. The surgery was performed by Bruce Gerstenkorn, M.D.

“He’s still there. Some things never change,” Wergin said.

But some things do change, Wergin noted. She recalled how Princeton had a sleepy little hospital downtown that gave way to the new Fairview Northland Hospital in 1993.

“This place has been under change ever since,” she said, noting the numerous medical center expansions and the addition of a third floor in 2003. But despite two decades of expansions, the need for services continues to grow.

“This will provide better health care opportunities for those living in our area,” Wergin said.

“With this addition, we will become a regional hub of health care excellence and people will have better health care than they have today — closer to home — and that’s what people want,” she said.

Rulon F. Stacey, Fairview president and CEO, was also on hand to mark the occasion.

Fairview has a dedication to academics and community that is unique in Minnesota, Stacey said.

The Fairview Northland speciality medical office will further put an emphasis on community care, he said.

Fairview is proud to further lead the health care emphasis on community, Stacey said.

Princeton Mayor Paul Whitcomb read a mayor’s proclamation honoring Fairview for embarking on its addition.

“The leadership at Fairview Northland Medical Center is constantly striving to expand the scope of health care services made available to the residents of Princeton and the surrounding area,” Whitcomb said.

“On behalf of the citizens of Princeton, we thank Fairview Northland Medical Center for their ongoing efforts to improve both the quality and range of medical services available and thus making Princeton a better place to live,” Whitcomb said.

In addition to the new medical offices, the campus will be home to a new, fourth surgery facility, as well.

The facility was built for the future in 1993 with a fourth operating room, which has traditionally been used for storage. Hospital traffic has grown to the point that the operating room is now needed.

Pre- and post-operating rooms will be located on the first floor where the surgery waiting room and former administrative offices had been located.

“It will be up and running in a few weeks,” Herman said.

A new medical center entrance will also be created, Herman said.

“There will be disruption, and there will be uncomfortableness,” Herman told staff members on hand for the groundbreaking.

“But access to patients and patient care will not be compromised,” he said.