Avera De Smet breaks ground despite chilly weather

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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sharp, cold wind cut through the tent and threatened to blow it away as Avera officials broke ground Monday for the hospital expansion and renovation in De Smet.


The $3.2 million project is expected to take up to two years to complete. A local capital campaign raised more than $1.7 million, more than twice the original goal of $750,000.


Jerry Soholt, president of the Avera Foundation, said delays in getting the project going have created another $75,000 in interest, an amount equal to another large donation.


Soholt praised capital campaign co-chairs Bill Poppen, Ken Roeder and Glen Davis.


“What a magnificent job they did,” he said.


He also said the building itself is the least important aspect of what is happening. The most important, he said, is what happens inside its walls.


Temperatures hovered in the low 40s and northerly winds whipped through at 25-35 mph. Several of those who spoke mentioned the cold and assured the audience they would be brief.


Mayor Gary Wolkow, who lost his notes to the wind, said he feels blessed to live in De Smet, adding that the community offers the best in small-town living.


Dr. Trevor Meany, chief of medical staff at Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital, praised those working at the hospital, noting the community is fortunate to have highly qualified people working there. And he said those working at the hospital are looking forward to expanded and improved services and working space.


But, he said, those living in the community will benefit the most from the hospital’s expansion and renovation.


Tom Clark, CEO of Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell, the Avera region De Smet is with, said that Avera isn’t a faceless entity located only in Sioux Falls. He said Avera serves five states and is a vibrant ministry of health.


Avera De Smet Memorial is all most in the community will ever need to serve their healthcare needs, Clark said.


“It will be an amazing facility to serve the community for generations to come.”


Dale Blegen


The De Smet News

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