Construction milestones add up at Tri-County Health Care's new center on Hwy 10

The project remains on schedule for an opening of March 2023, or 54 short weeks of construction, as Mortenson project manager Jessica Deitner said.

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Coming in from the emergency department area, crews work on plumbing and ductwork at the new Tri-County Health Care center on Hwy 10 on Dec. 20, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

Mortenson Construction and local trade partners are completing milestone after milestone since the Tri-County Health Care center groundbreaking in May 2021 . The healthcare center will be a 125,900 square foot building with newly designed patient rooms, technology and integrated specialty, rehab and primary care clinics.

The project remains on schedule for an opening of March 2023, or 54 short weeks of construction, as Mortenson project manager Jessica Deitner said. The hospital space has been the first off the list with the clinic space, due to its complexity, coming last in the process. Throughout the interior of the one level building, the projects are worked on in a clockwise fashion from the center of the building. The massive undertaking will be fully enclosed by mid-January.

The area for the MRI machine will have a thicker concrete slab due to the weight of the machine. Mortenson Construction project manager Jessica Deitner said the area also must be perfectly level, which is why the concrete is added later. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal


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The new Tri-County Health Care center will have two entrances on the Hwy 10 side of the building. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

To continue projects through the winter, prefabricated walls are added “lightning times fast” for crews to stay warm inside as well as many projects requiring heated walls. The quality and speed of the prefabricated walls are the “best thing” for this project, as Deitner said. Most of the building is prefabricated, except for the south side of the building which features large, open expanses. These areas are built with steel and sheetrocked at the Hwy 10 site.

The projects continue rolling with about 80 crafts people on site daily, according to Deitner. The trade partners are mostly from a 100-mile radius with some of the interior and exterior elements coming from the Twin Cities.

The last structural steel beam, including signatures from staff members, headed to its final setting place on the clinic side of the center on Dec. 20, 2021. A ceremonious American flag and Christmas tree adorned the beam while staff members huddled together on a sunshine day of 10 degrees. While the beam honored staff members, Tri-County president and CEO Joel Beiswenger also thanked the board members, community members and construction crews involved in the process.

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The final steel beam rises to the clinic portion of the new Tri-County Health Care center on Hwy 10 on Dec. 20, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal


Over the next several months, the crews will work on windows, adding ductwork and plumbing, sheetrocking rooms and adding metal panels to the brick exterior. The exterior details will be finished by spring.


“(The metal panels) would make the exterior enclosure complete, which is a huge milestone for us. Now that is going to take awhile,” Deitner said. “We start over at that … northeast corner and we’re wrapping our way east and then around west, clockwise … from the center of the building.” The northeast corner hosts the main mechanical and electrical areas along with administrative offices and wraps around to the emergency department services at the front.

With material shortages and price increases across the industry, the cost for the center’s steel structure increased. The increased costs were helped by decreased labor costs. Thus far, materials have largely arrived on time, or didn’t change the overall schedule, as Deitner said. The crews track the available materials and plan months in advance for the next set of arrivals. Deitner said they are “pre-planning a lot” to keep up with the schedule.

By December 30, 2022 the center will be ready for equipment to move in and hospital staff to receive training.

“It’s been such a fun project,” Deitner said. “This is one of those great projects for the community and it just feels good, and just having all the local participation is important.”

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The clinic side of the portion is last in the process. The crews work in a clockwise fashion from the center of the building at the new Tri-County Health Care center. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal


Project history

  • About four years ago, Tri-County started a 15-month process with HGA for a master plan. The result became building a new facility on a new site.

  • In March 2019, the details of the planning really began , and HGA was named design architect for the project.

  • The site on Hwy 10, previously the Taggart’s alpaca farm (not llamas), was selected in June 2019 .

  • When the pandemic started, the project was temporarily suspended as of April 2020 , a decision that Beiswenger describes as “very, very difficult.”

  • The project kicked off again in July 2020 with Tri-County being able to multitask without affecting the mission critical work of caring for patients and the community, as Beiswenger said.

  • By March 2021, funding for the new center was almost finalized . The total project cost is $72 million.

  • The dirt started flying at the new site on May 21, 2021 as Tri-County staff took a big step toward their future. Mortenson Construction crews are leading the project along with local trade partners like Kern and Tabery. The center is expected to open in March 2023.

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in enhancing online articles as well as education, feature and health reporting.
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