Wondering about Wesley? Tri-County Health Care wants to hear from you

As the hospital staff make a transition out of the historic building, the plans for what that building could become are plentiful. Share your thoughts on the building use.

The Wesley Hospital has seen change over the years but still stands strong across from the current facility as it has since 1925.
Photo courtesy Tri-County Health Care

WADENA — The Wesley Hospital in Wadena is just a few short years from celebrating 100 years of existence and just about seven months away from seeing significant changes in use as part of Tri-County Health Care's existing buildings.
Since the first mention of a new hospital, the question has consistently come up from people wondering, "what's to come of Wesley?"
While the many uses of the facility are expansive, demolition and decay are not in the plans, according to Tri-County Health Care staff.
" Tri-County Health Care has no plans to destroy these iconic buildings that have been in Wadena for decades. The organization aims to find a way to utilize them to their fullest potential as the organization shifts to its new home just miles outside of Wadena," a recent blog post read from the organization.

When is the move?

Medical providers and staff, along with their equipment, will be making a move in the Spring of 2023. This move is a multi-tiered process that requires all hands on deck. From maintenance to schedulers, everyone needs to be at the ready to move necessary equipment to the new site while allowing time to acclimate. As of now, the organization plans to hold off on moving staff stationed in the Wesley building to the current hospital/clinic for around six months. This buffer period will allow site engineers and maintenance to make space for the support specialists to help the new building operate efficiently.
Staff are aware of the historical value and potential viable uses of Wesley as a commercial space. For now, Tri-County Health Care will continue to use the lower floor for laundry and other building support services. The garage in the back of the building will continue to be a hub for EMS personnel. Lastly, the third floor will be used for medical record storage.
That leaves the first and second floors. These two floors come with a whirlwind of possibilities. The office space is ideal for various clerical, sales, and front-end operations. A tentative plan is to start leasing these areas to local and regional businesses.

Other options

Commercial offices are an option, but that isn't the only course of action considered, according to Tri-County Health Care. The organization has expressed some interest in selling the property. Some have cited the historical importance of the building, claiming it might be a good home for the Wadena County Historical Society. A direct sale will continue to be an option in the future.
The Historical Society has developed several ideas for how they might turn a portion of the building into the "Wesley Heritage and Cultural Center." It would be a place to discover the valuable contributions of the people of Wadena County through immersive exhibits that focus on: Original inhabitants, Fur Trade era, early agriculture, main street merchants, World War II and the greatest generation, radar installation in Wadena, women in politics, Back to the Land, Back to the Future and more, according to a pamphlet created by the historical society.
There are ideas about developing a space where theater groups, playwrights and actors could rent a playhouse to develop their productions. There is an idea to create spaces where artists would have a place to create and display art.

Historic Registry

While the facility has been well maintained, if there were a change of hands, funds would be needed to keep up appearances. It's the Historical Society's goal to maintain it's historic look. Last fall WCHS applied for and was awarded a grant to fund the preparation of a study to determine its eligibility for nomination to the historic register. With this grant WCHS can prepare an evaluation, the first step in seeking nomination. If successful, this would make Wesley Hospital eligible for state and federal funding it would otherwise not have access to.


Share your thoughts

TCHC needs help from the communities in and around Wadena in finding the best use for the facility.
"If the price was no object and you had infinite resources, what would you do with the Wesley building? How would you make this structure useful to the people of Wadena?" they ask in a recent blog posting.

Let them know your thoughts on their social media pages or visit with a staff member about your dreams.

If you’re interested or know someone who would like to lease or buy space at Wesley, email Ryan Damlo at or call 218-632-8148 .

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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