By Dan Bechtold, Editor
Becca Carlson has devoted 36 years as director of Community Connections Inc. of Winner. Today is her last day of overseeing the agency that provides support for 54 individuals. Carlson is retiring after seeing so many changes in the organization. An open house to honor Carlson was held Aug. 23 from 1-3 p.m.
She is turning the reigns of executive director position over to Melony Bertram, who has worked at Community Connections for 18 years.
Major Hospital Expansion Announced
Plans to break ground are underway as news reached administration and the board of directors that Winner Regional Healthcare Center was recently approved for a low interest Community Facilities Loan from the USDA. In November, plans were unveiled, at a public meeting, to pursue a major expansion and renovation project. These plans were contingent upon a feasible financing option, which has now been secured with the USDA. The $23 million project was approved by the board of directors as a necessary step in ensuring Winner Regional’s ability to continue to address the healthcare needs of those in Winner and the surrounding region. “A commitment of this magnitude is not only a commitment to the future of Winner Regional, but a commitment to the residents of our area,” stated board president Brian Schaeffer.
Winner Regional’s existing facilities were designed and constructed in an era of health care delivery that was dramatically different from today and where it is headed in the future. An expansion and renovation of the hospital and its clinic facilities will allow Winner Regional to more efficiently deliver modern health care to those who depend on their services. The proposed facility changes will fully integrate the current best practices with an eye towards flexibility and expandability to allow the hospital to evolve with the ever changing delivery of health care. To support the primary goal of improving the patient experience, the main focus of the project will be the construction of a new clinic, ER, OR, lab and radiology department, along with a streamlined registration area for the entire facility. The original 1947 building will be demolished to make room for new construction, while the old laboratory and radiology spaces will be repurposed to accommodate services currently housed in the 1947 building.
Plans include 28,000 square feet of new construction, along with 16,000 square feet of major renovation work. All hospital services will continue to be operational throughout the course of construction. The total anticipated cost of the project is expected to be $23,035,000 dollars. In addition to the low interest USDA loan, funding for the project will include the previous gift of $3 million from the late John and Raymond Erickson, $1 million in other pledges received to date, as well as securing $3 million in local philanthropic donations. Regarding the expansion, CEO Kevin Coffey said, “We take great pride in our role of serving this community for over 65 years and are thrilled we have the opportunity to further show our dedication through the growth of our facility and organization.”