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Essentia breaks ground on new Deerwood clinic and pharmacy

Located by the intersection of highways 210 and 6, the new $5 million Essentia Health-Deerwood Clinic and pharmacy will offer a 6,500-square-foot clinic and a 700-square-foot pharmacy.

Construction helmets lined up for groundbreaking in Deerwood.
Groundbreaking for the new Deerwood clinic and pharmacy took place Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, by the intersection of highways 210 and 6, with construction planned to start this fall and the clinic's opening planned for 2023.<br/>
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch
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DEERWOOD — Essentia Health broke ground Wednesday, Sept. 7, on a $5 million clinic and pharmacy in Deerwood in an effort to offer essential services in that area.

Located by the intersection of highways 210 and 6, the new Essentia Health-Deerwood Clinic and pharmacy will offer a 6,500-square-foot clinic and a 700-square-foot pharmacy. With construction planned to start this fall, the opening of the clinic is scheduled for 2023 and will hopefully bring a boost to the Deerwood economy, Deerwood Mayor Mike Aulie said.

Computer rendering of the new building
Computer rendering of Essentia Health’s new Deerwood Clinic and pharmacy.<br/>
Contributed / Essentia Health

“A lot of economic development happening in our area, which is exciting, coming out of the pandemic and everything,” Aulie said. “It's great to see that happening. We're proud of our small community but this will make a big mark.”

Sandy Zutz-Wiczek, vice president of clinic operations for Essentia Health, said the word groundbreaking stands for far more than literally breaking off the ground.

“It stands for the partnerships that mark the preparations that have brought us to this point. The partnership with the city of Deerwood and its Mayor, Mike Aulie, our providers, our managers, our facility team, our marketing team, our staff, and the architects and builders,” Zutz-Wiczek said.

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People gather at the groundbreaking under a tent
Groundbreaking for the new Deerwood clinic and pharmacy took place Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, by the intersection of highways 210 and 6, with construction planned to start this fall and the clinic's opening planned for 2023.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

The clinic will enable its providers to bring family medicine care and specialty care services, such as orthopedics, cardiology and general surgery to meet the evolving needs of the Deerwood community, Zutz-Wiczek said.

“(The clinic) will enable us to provide rehabilitation imaging and laboratory services close to home,” Zutz-Wiczek said. “We will also have a drive-through pharmacy for all those times that you just don't want to get out of the car in a freezing Minnesota winter.”

One of the main features of the clinic being built on the site of the former Thoroughbred Carpets will be its drive-through pharmacy, said Tony Kaufenberg, vice president of pharmacy for Essentia Health, who also grew up in a small town and know the value of having essential services closer to home.

“It's great to have a drive-thru,” Kaufenberg said. “It's one thing we don't often get an opportunity to include when we don't start from ground zero like this”

Deerwood Mayor Mike Aulie
Deerwood Mayor Mike Aulie speaking at the groundbreaking for Essentia Health’s new Deerwood clinic and pharmacy took place Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

Aulie said though after 14 years he will no longer be mayor after December, he was happy to be going out on a good note, especially with all the positive things happening in and around Deerwood.

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“We're not big, but this is big for us,” Aulie said. “Economically, it's going to mean a lot. It's probably going to be one of our biggest service industries in town.”

The clinic was designed by DSGW Architecture and will be built by Rice Lake Construction Group.

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TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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