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New hospital, clinic open house is Thursday, June 26

The general public will get its first look at the new hospital/clinic facility during a grand opening today (Thursday), 2-8 p.m. Hudson Mayor Jack Breault will perform a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. The new health campus is located at 405 Stageline Road, near Exit 2 off I-94 at the intersection of Carmichael Road and Crest View Drive.

A press conference Monday allowed members of the media an opportunity to tour the new Hudson Health Campus.

The media tour revealed a $45-million facility that will be a health care jewel in the area and should allow the Hudson facility to easily compete with health care facilities in the Twin Cities area, a major concern for hospital officials working out of the old location at 400 Wisconsin St.

Each area of the new hospital, from patient rooms to operating rooms, contains state-of-the-art equipment. The extra amenities aren't bad either. The large and private patient rooms, for instance, feature flat screen televisions, thermostats in each room and windows that open if a patient wants to smell the outside air on a nice spring day.

In addition to the hospital, tenants in the new facility include Hudson Physicians (Western Wisconsin Medical Associates), Western Wisconsin OB/GYN, St. Croix Orthopaedics, Hudson Hearing Clinic and Hudson Counseling Services.

Hudson Hospital is also associated with HealthPartners and Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

At a question/answer session after the media tour Monday, Hospital Board Chair John Clymer said the idea of a new hospital started several years ago.

"We (hospital officials) had a retreat several years ago and came to the conclusion that if health care was going to be available in Hudson, we had to move to a new location," Clymer said. "In reality, we entered this project in blind faith. When we started to determine what we could afford to build and how much money we thought we could raise, we were overwhelmed when we decided we needed to raise $15.5 million for a project that would cost over $40 million.

"I remember being at the meeting and having everyone write on a slip of paper what they thought we could raise in the community. I wrote something like $3 million or $4 million. John Marnell wrote $9 million, and we all thought he was crazy."

Clymer credits First National Bank President Ken Heiser with being the catalyst behind the fund-rasing effort.

"We were fortunate to get Ken," Clymer said. "Soon we had HealthPartners involved ($3 million); that got us the land. Then the Phipps Foundation stepped forward with $5 million. Then came the Andersen Foundation ($2.5 million); soon we were off and running toward our goal of $15.5 million. We started with a pipe dream; the community responded and pretty soon we were two-thirds of the way to our goal."

At last count, the project had raised over $15.8 million from nearly 1,500 foundations, businesses and individuals. The extra funds are being used for hospital equipment.

Hospital CEO Marian Furlong said another challenge in the project was involving members of the community and staff from the hospital and clinic in the planning stages.

"We wanted all parties to have a voice," Furlong said. "We received many great ideas that were incorporated into the project. The challenge was staying within our budget. Many of our decisions had to be based on economics."

Regions Hospital CEO Brock Nelson congratulated the community for supporting the hospital effort.

"Studies show that the most effective health care is care that is close to families and home," Nelson said.

Interior designer Suzanne Bates called the Hudson facility "world class." She said a person "would be hard pressed to find something as nice as this facility."

She credited Furlong for great leadership in the health campus project.

Furlong thanked Bates, but credited the many people who worked together in planning and building the facility. Furlong also said that plans continue to sell the old facility at 400 Wisconsin St. The expected sale to CommonBond fell through. The company had planned to make the old structure into senior housing. The sale ended when the company was unable to secure expected tax credits.

"We still have strong interest in the property," Furlong said. "We still hope to promote the theme of housing, hopefully senior housing."

The clinic portion of the new facility features 70 examination rooms and 10 procedure rooms. The first floor of the clinic will house Hudson Physicians; the second floor, the specialty clinic.

St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christianson said the agency hopes to have an ambulance at the new hospital available for duty this fall. The agency plans to have at least one ambulance at both the hospital and downtown garage.

Life Link 3 officials said the helicopter landing pad at the new hospital will be used as a staging area from time to time. A helicopter will be on call in Hudson during the Fourth of July weekend.

Open house

"We encourage everyone to visit the facility Thursday," said Furlong. "It will give everyone an opportunity to see this wonderful new facility."

Now that the building is ready for occupancy, Furlong said it will "come alive."

"Until we move in, the campus is a building; it comes alive when the staff moves in," Furlong said. "That's what makes it a hospital."

Patients will be moved to the new facility Sunday. The clinic is scheduled to open at the new location Monday. Hospital representative Pat Sherley said the emergency room will be open at both locations on Sunday, June 29. The ER at the old facility will close Monday.

The plan is for patients to have breakfast at the old hospital Sunday. The transfer will then take place with a goal of serving lunch in the new facility. In fact, the move will be used as a training exercise in dealing with numerous patients at one time.

Furlong said gates will be placed in front of the old structure to show people that the old facility is not open. Maps will also be posted instructing people on how to get to the new facility.

Several open houses were scheduled during the week of June 23. In addition to the general public open house today, the media toured the facility Monday, staff/volunteers and families on Tuesday and donors Wednesday.

Groundbreaking for the new health campus was Nov. 21, 2001. The facility includes 76,400 square feet for the hospital, 60,600 square feet for the clinic and 6,400 square feet for maintenance. The new facility is about 40 percent bigger than the old structure. The hospital will have 24 patient beds with the ability to expand. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The major contractors in the project were:

-Architect: Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Minneapolis.

-Construction manager: M.A. Mortenson Co., Minneapolis.

-Interior design: Edesign, Minneapolis.

-Landscape design: Environmental Landscape Management, Hudson

-Owner's representative: Hammes Co., Brookfield.

The hospital now has a new telephone number, 531-6000.

More information about Hudson Hospital is available at Executive Editor Doug Stohlberg is available at