Minot builds for future: Construction to bring economic growth
The closer Trinity Health gets to opening its new medical campus, the more activity is occurring behind the scenes. With the completion of the structure in 2022, the emphasis has been on finishing the interior and getting ready for the move.
“We’ve seen more change in the last six months than we have in three years,” said Randy Schwan, Trinity vice president and spokesman. “The last six months here the rooms actually came to be defined and systems are in and being operated. Our staff gets to start to really kind of walk through and understand their workflows.”
As much activity has been happening in conference rooms as at the construction site because of the scope of the planning and preparation that needs to happen to guarantee a smooth transition, he said.
“It’s been a remarkable process — watching people be innovative and thinking about workflows that they work with every day, and it’s taught a lot of people a lot of things that will benefit us going forward,” he added. “There seems to be a lot of work to be done, but it’s all being choreographed and pieces are falling into place nicely, as per plan.”
At the campus, construction was primarily finished by the end of the year but for final touch-ups and fixes. Still, the average day has seen about 200 people at work, said Dave Kohlman, Trinity vice president of facilities management.
“Several semis a week are showing up — a tremendous amount of furniture, fixtures and equipment. For example, the medical office building is finished off. All the furniture is in,” Kohlman said in mid-December.
The focus at year end was on installation and testing of major medical equipment. Because Trinity leases much of its large medical equipment, it has arranged for leases at the current hospital to expire as staff move over to the new complex with its leased, new equipment in April, Schwan said.
“There will be some equipment that is going to move, but it’s not a lot,” he said.
Kohlman said fixed equipment, such as generators and chillers, also were being commissioned at the end of the year to ensure they are capable of handling the load. Trinity had teams in December creating training videos on the buildings’ operating systems so its facilities and systems teams can begin orientation and training early in 2023 on running the new hospital plant.
The complex also will have new computer and data systems that will be expanded and enhanced to be more redundant as backup protection against any loss of power, Schwan said.
The transition is planned to occur during April. Trinity has been preparing patient letters to let them know if their medical providers will be moving and if so, when the move will occur, how to get to the new offices and where to park.
Schwan said Trinity plans multiple means of communication to let clinic patients know how to navigate the changes.
“We’ll have a dedicated transition page on the website to let people know where everything is at. You’ll get reminders on your phone and email and texts about your appointments, reinforcing where it is at. So we know there’ll be a lot of communication going out to patients about where they need to go,” Schwan said.
Internal and external wayfinding signage was just waiting to be installed at the end of 2022.
Landscaping, with planting of trees and perennials, was completed last fall.
Plans also are being made for a park area around the retention ponds on the north side of the campus. The design includes a walking path around the ponds with benches and trees. A donor contribution will provide equipment for a full playground.
“We want to turn that into a usable outdoor space for patients and staff to enjoy,” said Dusty Zimmerman, executive director for Trinity Health Foundation. “We anticipate that families who are visiting patients will utilize it and staff who have breaks. That’s one thing we learned during COVID. Taking some time away in intense healthcare situations is really important. We also anticipate that the neighborhood will use the area because there aren’t a lot of existing park and playgrounds out in that location yet.”
Future plans call for a guest house down the road. Zimmerman said that would be the next phase of construction at the complex, but no timeline has been set regarding it.
In October Trinity requested $3 million from the MAGIC Fund to help with its new emergency/trauma center. The Minot City Council approved a $3 million loan, with potential for $300,000 to be converted to a grant if Trinity completes improvements along 37th Avenue Southwest as identified in a traffic study. It also would need to meet other stipulations, including those related to redevelopment of its vacated downtown buildings. Trinity’s board was to meet in late December to consider the offer.
At the new $561 million campus, Trinity staff teams will be completing orientation in their new areas through February. Throughout March and into April, staff will train through “day in the life” experiences, in which they simulate their daily routines with mock patients in the new space.
“We’ll walk through those days and those scenarios so they get a sense of where they’re at relative to the other departments that they depend on and interact with,” Schwan said. “So they get a feel for their daily work in the new environment.”
Throughout this process, Trinity is working with a consultant with expertise on hospital moves. That expertise will be helpful in the movement of patients from the downtown hospital to the south campus. Once the move starts, it will go steadily and quickly in transitioning potentially 100 or more patients to the new hospital, Schwan said. He said Trinity has been talking with the state health officials about outside ambulance resources that can assist in that process.
Preparations for the move have come as Trinity Hospital celebrated its 100th year in its downtown location in 2022.
“Now our attention s swinging from that milestone of 100 years of service downtown to what the next 100 yeas is going to look like.So it’s kind of cool that transition is happening at this time,” Schwan said.
Construction started mid-year on the $14.7 million renovation of M by EPIC in downtown Minot.
The project, announced in December 2021, gained additional attention in 2022 when EPIC Companies requested a $2.7 million Tax Increment Financing mechanism to assist in paying for asbestos mitigation and some demolition. Through the economic development tool, 90% of tax collections from EPIC on improvements to the building were proposed to go to pay the debt over 20 years.
Ward County commissioners rejected a TIF in May. Instead, they supported an eight-year property-tax abatement until informed by State’s Attorney Roza Larson that they lacked the authority. They then converted their support to an eight-year TIF, with 100% of tax collections on improvements to go back into the project, calculated at $40,893 a year.
The Minot City Council approved the 20-year TIF, with 90% of collections to go to the bond payments. The other 10% would go to city taxing entities, including the city, school and park district.
The City of Minot bonded for just over $2.38 million. After issuance costs, $2.29 million is available to go toward project costs.
Plans are moving forward for eight condominiums on the top, 24 apartments, underground parking, fitness and community rooms and main-level commercial space with a drive-through option. Construction is set to finish in 2024.
It was a year of construction for the Magic City Discovery Center. The physical construction was basically completed in October when a certificate of occupancy was issued, said Executive Director Wendy Keller.
Since then, crews have been moving in and setting up 150 exhibits. That activity will continue into the first part of 2023. The center is expected to open in early 2023.
The sale of memberships began in December, and the center hired its full-time guide supervisor, who will be overseeing the guides working among the exhibits.
Keller said the existing six staff members moved offices into the building in late 2022, which was a significant year for everyone associated with the project.
“For us, it was actually a really exciting year because this dream that we have been working on for eight years is finally taking shape, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The whole idea that we will be able to open this winter is amazing,” she said.
Minot’s new larger SCHEELS location opened this summer at Dakota Square, offering guests Gina’s Cafe, Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, Rollerball, an archery lane, shooting gallery, sports simulators, interactive arcade games and 100,000 square feet of shopping.
Doubling the square footage, the 2022 expansion turns shopping into an experience for sports enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers and fashion seekers.
Target’s expansion and remodel at Dakota Square will provide 25% more space when it is completed in 2023. The changes will add a stockroom, CVS pharmacy services, a dedicated drive-up entrance for online pick-up and an adult beverage alcove with separate internal entrance. This expansion will see parking lot improvements, including parking lot lighting.
Heart of America
The past year saw planning and development of a design for a new medical facility along U.S Highway 2 in Rugby.
Tony Coffman, director of Good Samaritan Hospital Association Foundation, said, “With about half the floor space of the existing facility, the new 79,000 square-foot facility will be much more efficient and cost effective.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is providing a direct loan that will cover 80% of construction costs for the $62 million facility and is guaranteeing 10% of loans coming from commercial lenders. The remaining 10% is owner’s equity from its Build 2024 Capital Campaign.
Ground was broken on the project Nov. 1.
The structure currently housing HAMC consists of one main building, dating to the late 1940s, with wings added in 1964, 1973 and 1991. The hodgepodge of additions has resulted in higher maintenance costs and missed opportunities for Medicare reimbursement stemming from the inefficient use of the large space.
Construction on the railroad/oil-themed, mixed-use development called The Tracks commenced in 2022 near the Trinity hospital complex along 37th Street South in Minot.
The development includes seven mixed-use buildings with both commercial and residential space and an outdoor, artificial ice hockey rink, green space, a water feature, walking paths, small stage, underground parking for tenants and space for programmable community activities.
EPIC Companies is completing the project in phases. Phase I, which started last spring, includes two buildings. Featuring the same themed aesthetics in the project’s architecture, EPIC Companies named one building “Maverick” and another “Roughrider.”
Phase II will follow with the next two buildings and the public plaza spaces. Phase III will include the final set of buildings, parking structure and the remaining part of the public plaza, with entire development to be completed in 2026.
Similar to The Lights complex in Fargo and The Beacon in Grand Forks, The Tracks will offer the “live, work, and play” lifestyle.
Jill Schramm and Jen Brodahl contributed to this article.