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Published July 31, 2012, 11:30 PM

Thousands turn out for Sanford concert, groundbreaking for new medical center

FARGO - After three-time Grammy winners Train had jammed most of their well-known jams and sung all their best-known songs, they strummed a new tune, unknown to the casual fan.

By: Erik Burgess, INFORUM

FARGO - After three-time Grammy winners Train had jammed most of their well-known jams and sung all their best-known songs, they strummed a new tune, unknown to the casual fan.

On jumbo screens on either side of the stage, while the chorus rumbled through the dirt, the title words flashed to the audience:

Maybe this’ll be my year.

Those at Sanford Health here are probably thinking the same thing after breaking ground on their new 1.2-million-square-foot, 10-story medical center in south Fargo.

“This is a significant time in the history of Sanford Health and in the history of the region,” Sanford’s Fargo President Dennis Millirons told an estimated audience of 15,000 Sanford employees, friends and family. “(This complex) will touch the people of this region for generations.”

The new center, which event organizers Tuesday night were calling the “future of health care,” is set to open July 2016.

The event, held at the future site of the new complex just south of Interstate 94 on 23rd Avenue South, included many familiar faces such as Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker.

As he addressed the audience near the beginning of the evening, Dalrymple said those in attendance would look back fondly on this night.

“We were there the night that this incredible facility was built, was started,” Dalrymple said.

Sanford President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft and Denny Sanford, Sanford’s founding philanthropist, were just two of the many involved in the golden-shoveled groundbreaking before Train took the stage.

In letters written to The Forum, concern was expressed as to how Sanford could spend money on this event in the face of high medical coverage costs.

But many of those in the audience Tuesday night did not agree with those concerns.

“It’s always great to throw a party for your employees,” said Karl Bakkum, 57, of Moorhead, whose daughter is a Sanford nurse. “The naysayers are always disgruntled. Come on, let’s have some fun.”

Bakkum’s wife, Denise, also 57, agreed.

“It’s obviously resonated with the employees because there’s a great turnout,” she said. “Everybody likes a party.”

Train capped off the late-night event. It was their first show here in more than a decade, but near the end of the set, lead singer Patrick Monahan told the audience they would like to come back more often.

“This is still where the heart of America is, and we are so grateful that you invited us here,” he said.

Sanford officials said 600 construction jobs would be needed to complete the center, and once it’s fully functional, it will house 2,000 new employees.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518

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