Altru Health System's hospital project in Grand Forks is moving forward after a months-long hiatus prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The hospital announced the project's restart Tuesday afternoon.
“While 2020 was a challenging time for us all, Altru was able to make decisions necessary to enter 2021 with a strong financial outlook,” said Dave Molmen, Altru's interim CEO, in a statement sent to the Herald. “As we remain focused on the health care needs of our region now and in the future, it is imperative that we resume construction of the hospital and invest in the health and well-being of our community.”
The project will resume this fall, with a plan for completion in 2024.
The project to construct a new hospital at Altru's current site in Grand Forks officially broke ground in June 2019, with a price tag of approximately $305 million. Original plans called for a seven-story building with 528,000 square feet. In December 2019, the project was scaled back, from seven floors to five, with a new projected cost of $250 million. In early April, as the pandemic took grip on the region, the hospital announced it was putting the project on hold to focus support on staff and the community.
While construction is set to begin this fall, work on the project will begin immediately. The project will be financed through a combination of municipal bonds, contributed cash, and philanthropic support. Most of what was previously planned for the hospital will remain the same, however, over the next several months lessons learned from COVID will be incorporated into the final design.
“The hospital of the future is not the hospital of today,” Dr. Steven Weiser, Altru's president, said in the statement sent to the Herald. “This past year has shown our industry that the needs of our community look different than they did before COVID, and we feel fortunate that we can adapt our plans to ensure we build the hospital our community needs for years to come.”