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Burke hospital expansion on pace for fall 2018 completion

Construction on a $6 million expansion to Burke Community Memorial Hospital is shown. (Submitted photo)

BURKE — A massive expansion to Burke's hospital is on pace for a fall 2018 completion, according to hospital officials.

This week, the hospital purchased a property to the southeast of the hospital and tore down an abandoned house to make room for potential additional parking and a driveway.

Meanwhile, construction crews have made "substantial progress," and recently began setting foundation walls and will soon begin pouring concrete for the walls, according to Burke Community Memorial Hospital CEO Mistie Sachtjen.

With an estimated cost of approximately $6 million, the addition will house clinic space, a pharmacy, radiology, a lab and an emergency room, adding 18,400 square feet to the hospital. The 16-bed critical access hospital was founded in 1948, and additions have been built since, with the last renovation taking place in 1988.

The clinic is currently located in a secondary building near the hospital, which Sachtjen said can be inconvenient for patients.

Equally important, she said, is the project's ability to promote efficiency among employees, so making hospital operations a "one-stop shop" will be ideal.

Rainfall in the area since the groundbreaking in early July slowed progress temporarily, but construction remains on pace, Sachtjen said.

As construction has heated up, Jackson Street, which sits east of the current hospital structure, was closed. The street runs north to south and the expansion project crosses into a plot of land across the road. But the hospital has worked hard to limit confusion posting periodic updates online, on social media pages and in the local weekly newspaper, Sachtjen said.