Crookston’s RiverView Health held a ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 15, commemorating the placement of the last piece of structural steel put in place at the hospital’s construction site.

The $51 million, 80,000-square-foot hospital project broke ground in April, with design input from all sectors of the hospital’s staff.

The “topping off” ceremony saw a steel beam painted white, which had been signed by hospital staff, to commemorate the construction project.

“We put it (the beam) on display in our cafeteria for a week and put out Sharpies and encouraged staff members to put their signature on there and their title,” said Chris Bruggeman, RiverView Health CEO and vice president of operations. “Just as a little bit of a piece of history as the things goes up into the building.”

The ceremony featured remarks by chief medical officer Dr. Colin Fennell, as well as Jason Toso, the project manager of M.A. Mortenson Co, the Fargo firm that is building the hospital. Hospital staff were given a tour of the construction site.

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The new hospital will replace the one built in the 1950s and will have 18 patient rooms, three labor and delivery rooms and four family suites, which Bruggeman called “not typical” in American hospital designs.

The family suite will allow family members to remain near a loved one, for example, when a child is in the hospital. Bruggeman likened the family suite to an “adjoining hotel room” to the patient room. The family suite also will have a private bathroom and shower.

“This project in itself, when I reflect on it, is it’s more important than I realize, because it’s certainly a building that is going to outlive me,” said Bruggeman. “I’m a Crookston native, my family lives in the area, my wife’s family lives in the area, it’s an important asset for the local community.”

An interesting point of the hospital construction project was input given by all members of the hospital staff.

“The common theme among the senior executives during that design process was, ‘Hey, I’m not going to provide care in any of these rooms, so I shouldn’t be the one designing them’,” said Bruggeman. “The people that are going to deliver the care need to have the input, so that it can flow the way it needs to flow, so we can deliver the best possible experience in the most efficient way, with the highest quality.”

Bruggeman said hospital staff did exactly that.

“We’re super happy with the results of the design, and I think getting staff’s input and feedback on that was a key decision on our part, but I think, in the end, we’re going to get a product everyone is going to be on board with,” he said.

The construction is on track to be completed in July, according to project manager Toso.

“That’s out substantial completion date, so it will be ready for the owners to move in at that time,” Toso said.