Goal is to have building finished in mid-July 2020 and see first patients in November 2020, Michalski says.

The initial timeline for RiverView Health’s approximately $50 million construction project estimated that structural steel would start to be erected on Monday, Aug. 5. In an indication of just how well the project has been going since work officially commenced on April 29, Jason Toso, project manager with the general contractor, Mortenson Construction, says that structural steel will indeed be erected starting on Aug. 5.

“We are on schedule and on budget,” Toso said during a tour of progress at the construction site Wednesday.

It’s projected, RiverView Health CEO Carrie Michalski said, that RiverView will have control of the new building on July 17, 2020. After everyone and everything is moved in, in its proper location and operation, she said it’s anticipated that the first patients will be seen in the new facility on Nov. 20, 2020.

The project has a $51.5 million budget. It’s being funded through a $48.6 million bond sale and $2 million donated through a capital campaign. Newly constructed space will total 80,000 square feet. When all is said and done there will be 18 universal patient rooms, three labor and delivery rooms and four family suites in the hospital itself, and in the clinic there will be 48 exam rooms, four procedure rooms and four consultation rooms. It’s estimated that the project itself has a $23 million economic impact and is providing 590 construction jobs. Toso said Wednesday that Mortenson is working with 27 subcontractors on the RiverView job.

No surprises so far

With five weeks spent simply preparing for the necessary demolition of a major structure, RiverView’s 100-bed care center built in the early 1970s, Toso said there’s always a concern that when digging starts and foundation walls and other materials need to be dug up and removed unpleasant surprises will be found. But that wasn’t the case with the delicate demolition of the old care center situated between two buildings that will remain.

“We literally chewed the building away,” Toso explained. “The challenge was that we weren’t taking a whole building but just cutting out a building between two others.”

It got to the point that demolition came right up against a shared wall that was to remain in place; on the other side, Toso said, were RiverView’s surgery rooms. “We coordinated the schedules so that there would be no demolition going on during surgical procedures,” he added.

At every opportunity, Toso said, materials like old structural steel and concrete from the demolished building were separated and recycled or otherwise processed for reuse.

As a result of the demolition process that turned out to be as routine as could be, Michalski said the project’s contingency budget was able to be reduced somewhat.

The most apparent work taking place these days is the pouring of concrete structural walls near what will become RiverView’s new entrance that overlooks the Red Lake River. Next up, Toso said, is pouring curb and gutter on all of the new and modified roads to and from the hospital and clinic. That will likely get underway before this week is over, he said, adding that the goal is to have all of the curb and gutter poured and the first layer of asphalt on all of the roads on the site before the snow flies this winter. The new sidewalks that are part of the project will be heated, Michalski added, to increase safety for patients and visits during the colder months.

Other items of note

• On a tall wooden pole at the edge of the site a camera is mounted. Toso said it takes a photo of the site every 10 minutes in order to capture progress that will be made into a time-lapse production of the project from start to finish.

• Speaking of when the project is finished, Toso said that when the last piece of steel is to be placed in the middle of the new lobby, it will be painted white and during a ceremony to be planned anyone who wants to sign it will have a chance to do so. “It’s called ‘topping out,’” Toso said.