Grafton, ND, hospital celebrates $20M expansion project

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The Grafton hospital is in the midst of an expansion project. (Ken Chase / WDAY)

GRAND FORKS — After more than 60 years Grafton’s hospital is in the middle of some major changes. The rural hospital is in the process of expanding the building.

Unity Medical Center, located in Grafton, is in the middle of a 40,000-square-foot expansion. Thursday, Jan. 9, was an important day for the project as the final beam was placed.

"The present hospital is 64 years old. It's served us well, but times have changed and health care delivery has changed," Alan O’Neil, CEO of the hospital, said Thursday.

The hospital’s current, smaller patient rooms will be replaced with much larger ones as a part of the project. That means patients won't have to share rooms, plus the rooms will include full bathrooms in each one.


The expansion is designed to match what people would see in larger cities throughout the area.

"We deserve to have the best that can be provided in Grand Forks and Fargo and Bismarck, to have it here," Kristi Torgerson, project coordinator at Unity Medical Center, said.

The $20 million expansion for Unity Medical Center comes at a time when many rural hospitals are hurting. The hospital services about 5,000 people every year, but some patients travel as far as 60 miles for their care.

"We've grown at the rate of 9% a year for the last five years,” O’Neil said. “So we're really growing, and it feels wonderful."

Employees, patients and community members spent the past couple months signing the final beam that was placed into the building frame.

"Time matters, miles matter when it comes to getting treatment especially in an emergency situation,” O’Neil said. “So it's very important that rural hospitals continue to thrive and to grow."

If everything goes as planned, the expansion project will be finished by the end of this year.

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