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Construction of new Sanford Medical Center in south Fargo is done

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The signature Sanford blue lights illuminate the night sky in this file photo on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, during a lighting ceremony at the new Sanford Medical Center at 5225 23rd St. S. in Fargo. Construction of the center is complete. David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO—The new Sanford Medical Center will be turned over to the health provider Tuesday, Feb. 7, by its construction firm to signify that the million-square-foot building is now complete.

The milestone will be observed with a key handover ceremony. Construction representatives will present keys to the medical center, which started construction in June 2013, to Sanford representatives.

"At the end of the day I think it's a testament to all the contractors, all the workers out there," as well as administrators, who worked together to keep the $494 million project ahead of schedule and on budget, said Paul Richard, a Sanford executive vice president.

The focus at the new 11-story medical center, slated to open July 25, now shifts to hiring and training staff, installing equipment and furnishings, and finishing the myriad details that must be completed for the opening.

That behind-the-scenes work is already well underway to prepare the new medical center to receive patients when it opens at its location near the junction of Interstate 94 and Veterans Boulevard.

"There have been countless meetings going on for years," starting with the center's design and workflows, Richard said.

Staff members will be trained to operate new equipment in the hospital, and also will go through drills to ensure that they are thoroughly familiar with the layout of their new work environment, Richard said.

"It's really taking your environment and creating scenarios," he said.

Jeff Hoss, Sanford's executive director of west campus development, said more than 1,000 classes will be held from February through July.

"So the day they move in it's like the house they lived in for 20 years," Hoss said.

Sanford expects to hire about 300 support employees, in areas including food service and environmental services, and about 50 more nurses for the new medical center, Richard said. Others will be transferred from other locations.

Completion of the medical center was the result of 4,200 workers, almost half from North Dakota, Minnesota or South Dakota, who contributed almost 2.4 million hours on the project.

Richard complimented the construction firms that built the center. Construction was led by Mortenson Construction and Nor-Son Inc. The design and architecture was by HKS Inc., with support from JLG Architects. Lightowler Johnson Associates served as the civil engineer, and Northern Technologies was the soil engineer.

"I can't say enough about the expertise, the quality of workmanship," Richard said. The medical center, which ultimately will hold 380 hospital beds, had a construction budget of $375 million, with $119 million for medical equipment and furnishings, he said.

Sanford's extensive preparations for the move included visits to other hospitals that have made complex moves, and administrators are confident the move will go smoothly, Hoss said.

"The attention to detail on this project has been outstanding," he said. "We really are confident that we have our bases covered."

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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