The Austin branch of the Mayo Clinic Health System is undergoing an $11.2 million expansion project to add a third-floor Family Birth Center and two-story connecting link between the hospital and main clinic entrance.
The additions were described as being part of the Mayo Clinic’s ongoing effort to bring top-tier care and facilities to Austin, Albert Lea, and the surrounding area.
Dr. Mark Ciota, CEO of the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin, said in prepared remarks that the expansion is the result of more than two years of analysis as the nonprofit focused on building viable campuses with efficient use of facility and staff resources.
“This is an exciting, beautiful modernization and expansion project that will serve our patients, staff and communities for years to come,” said Ciota.
While details are still being ironed out, the expansion’s core elements have been determined. The Family Birth Center will be built into a space currently occupied by the Women’s Special Care Unit and step-down/telemetry unit. Additional construction will allow for a large family waiting area.
The center will have ten large rooms with private bathrooms, and include an area for triage, a C-section suite and newborn nursery.
Dr. Sumit Bhagra, medical director for the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin, said in a statement that the center’s rooms will be 58 percent larger than current rooms, accommodating for more amenities and advanced equipment and technology.
Meanwhile the link structure being installed along the north face of the facility will add nearly 5,000 square feet of usable space and provide easier access to the Family Birth Center and the Medical/Surgical/Pediatrics unit from the front entrance.
The vision for the link includes a long wall of windows to bring in natural light.
“We are excited about the vibrant and healing space we’ll have for our patients and families,” said Dr. Ciota. “We look forward to involving the community as we move into the design phase for these units.”
Also in the cards for the campus, in a separate endeavor, is the modernization of the Medical/Surgical/Pediatrics inpatient unit on the second floor of the medical center. This includes expansion into a space set to be vacated by the current occupant, the inpatient Psychiatric Services Unit, which is relocating to a remodeled area at Albert Lea. More details on this expansion project will be disclosed next year.
Both the Birth Center and link, and Medical/Surgical/Pediatrics unit projects are part of a 2020 inpatient services transition process. Construction on the Birth Center and Link project is slated for 2019 and expected to last through 2020.