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Essentia Health breaks ground for Baxter clinic

Essentia Health in Brainerd broke ground recently to mark the start of the construction for their new facility located on Isle Drive in Baxter.

Leading the project team is Bill Palmer, Essentia Health Brainerd Clinic administrator, and Pat Delong, Essentia Health St. Joseph Medical Center's chief nursing officer.

They welcomed the crowd and explained that planning actually began eight years ago with the purchase of the 40-acre site. At that time, they knew that the healthcare facility could eventually better serve the community by providing an easily accessible location in Baxter. With the addition of more than 60 physicians and advanced practice providers over the past three years, Essentia Health now has a significant need for additional clinic space, which makes the vision of a Baxter facility able to be realized.

Specifically, the 44,000 square foot Baxter clinic will house teams of family medicine, urgent care, children's care, and women's care, along with ancillary services for laboratory, imaging, physical therapy, and pharmacy. The facility will bring alive the vision of a setting that is welcoming and comfortable for patients, while also being an efficient and enjoyable place for staff and physicians to work.

Palmer acknowledged Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prusak and the boards of directors chaired by Bill Potvin, Chuck Albrecht, and Dr. Peter Dunphy, for their foresight in the purchase of the land, and for their support in each phase of the planning for the clinic.

"Their commitment to serving our patients and families with high quality care in accessible locations close to our patients' homes has been evident in our clinics, not only in Brainerd, but also in the surrounding communities of Crosslake, Pillager, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Hackensack, and Pierz," Palmer said. Also acknowledged by Palmer were architects, Widseth, Smith, and Nolting and HGA; Nor-Son Construction, Anderson Brothers, and Bunn Masonry.

Delong thanked Mayor Darrel Olson and the Baxter City Council and its representatives, along with community leaders who assisted.

"Their recognition of the value of this clinic to the Baxter community is appreciated. We're committed to continuing to provide value as responsible owners of our property, and in the high quality of services we provide to the community," said DeLong.

The groundbreaking concluded with a blessing by Karen DuBord, pastoral care director at Essentia in Brainerd. In accordance with St. Joseph's Benedictine tradition, a blessed medal of St. Benedict was also placed in the ground to provide for the safety of all the workers on the project.

Essentia Health is an integrated health system serving patients in four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Idaho. Headquartered in Duluth, Essentia became fully integrated in the summer of 2010 when it merged the operations of SMDC Health System, Brainerd Lakes Health, Innovis Health, Essentia Community Hospitals and Clinics, and the Essentia Institute of Rural Health.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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