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Published January 13, 2014, 07:29 PM

Essentia Health - St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes expansion coming together

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - After several years of planning, an extensive expansion at Essentia Health - St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes is coming to fruition.

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - After several years of planning, an extensive expansion at Essentia Health- St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes is coming to fruition.

Essentia- St. Mary's is nearing the end of the first phase of a three stage construction and remodeling project that will expand its Imaging Department by nearly 12,000 feet.

"We're standing in the CAT scan room and this room is 3 times bigger than the rom we're working in right now."

For the past 10 years, the hospital has also had to take patients outdoors to a mobile truck for MRI's come rain, snow, ice, wind or bitter cold.

"So, it's about space, it's about comfort, it's about..."

Connie Kovala/Imaging Department Manager: " Technology and quality and just patient comfort. And being next to the clinic is huge for us."

Included in the $5 million dollar project...new, state of the art equipment.

For one of those new pieces of equipment being put in today an MRI machine Essentia had to knock out a wall and call in a crane crew. The reason? The magnet on that machine weighs 6 tons.

The machine weighs 7 tons in all... and represents $1 million dollars of an investment the hospital's making in the community and its staff.

Peter Jacobson/President, Essentia Health- St. Mary’s: "We're now providing them both the technology and the environment that matches the skills that they have and the passion they have for their patients."

And the community seems to be appreciative as it has helped raise $900,000 for the project so far.

The hospital hopes to have the new Imaging Center open by the end of April.

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