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Construction zone: Cloquet hospital expansion under way

A $28 million expansion to Community Memorial Hospital is under way in Cloquet and will create an 80,000-square-foot addition. It is targeted for completion in spring 2013. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

What: Community Memorial Hospital

Where: 512 Skyline Blvd. in the north end of Cloquet.

Owner: The hospital is a nonprofit owned by an association of hundreds of community members.

Project: Construction of a three-story, 80,000-square-foot hospital expansion and refurbishing 20,000 square feet of the hospital's original 1950s building.

Details: The expansion will increase the hospital's campus size by more than 50 percent.

The addition will add a new specialty clinic, 18 new private inpatient rooms, several new birthing and private intensive care rooms, a larger gift shop, a large family waiting area, new chapel space, expanded kitchen and cafeteria, meeting rooms, computer and training labs, a dialysis

program and MRI services.

"The project is huge," said hospital spokeswoman Nancy Taggart.

The new addition extends from the original hospital building being reconfigured.

Why it's needed: To modernize and add important health-care services for the community.

The configuration of the original hospital building dating back to its construction in 1957 is outdated and not conducive to today's health care, Taggart explained.

"It's to provide better care in a better setting and to meet the needs of the community," she said.

Background: The expansion is the second of three phases in a $60 million master plan to expand and modernize the community hospital.

The first phase, built in 2004, was a 65,000-square-foot hospital addition, which added a new emergency room and intensive care area, a radiology department, procedure and outpatient rooms, a pharmacy and more.

The start of the third phase hasn't been determined yet.

Timeline: Construction began in May and is scheduled for completion in spring 2013.

Project status: The new structure is weather-tight with roofing being installed. Workers will then focus on interior work.

General contractors: The Boldt Co., based in Appleton, Wis., with Ray Riihiluoma Inc. of Cloquet.

Architect: Randy Blomquist of Design Alternative of Hermantown

Cost: $28 million.

Funding: Nearly $25 million is coming from U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, with Wells Fargo providing a $15 million loan until that portion comes through. The hospital has put in nearly $3 million in cash. Community contributions have included $200,000 from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for the planned dialysis center.

Employees: The project requires 55 construction workers a day and that soon will increase to about 80 a day this summer. When complete, 25 permanent hospital positions will be added to its current staff of 440.

Of special note: Most of those construction workers are local.

"We're using almost exclusively local companies," said Brad Anderson, the hospital's chief financial officer. "We are a community facility and believe in using the community labor force.

Website: To follow the construction, visit cloquethospitalconstruction.com.

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