Astera Health 2023:
Imagine. Build. Transform.
As the world of health care evolves, Tri-County Health Care continues our devotion to excellence and creating healthier lives for everyone in our community. We are embarking on an exciting transformational journey to create a new $72 million, 125,900 square-foot facility. The design will integrate new technology, create a healthy environment that improves the patient experience and efficiency for staff, and ensure a sustainable future for health care in our area.
Improving The Health Of The Communities We Serve
Time-lapse images from Greenwood Ave facing west
Time-lapse images from HWY-10 facing north
Ideal Patient Experience
Our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve means our focus is on our patients and the community. The vision for this investment is to promote healing for patients and families while introducing new resources in a more private and efficient setting.
Features & Improvements
Standardized rooms: When all rooms are identical, nurses and providers will always know the layout, from the location of the swabs in the cabinet to the placement of the exam tables. This improves efficiency, safety and allows them to spend more time with their patients. This concept will be featured in the clinic, hospital and outpatient rooms, as well as the surgical suites.
Labor and Delivery: The birth of a child is a wonderful event in the lives of women and their families. Safe, spacious and luxurious delivery rooms will provide moms with whirlpool baths and a family-friendly environment to meet their needs so they can focus on delivering their little one.
Larger Inpatient Rooms: When patients stay in the hospital, family brings comfort and reassurance to a stressful situation. Private rooms will provide generous space and easily accommodate visitors while promoting healing.
Surgical Suites: Larger surgical suites will be designed to allow us to expand the types of procedures currently offered at our facility and accommodate the latest technology.
Universal platform: It’s hard to predict patient volume in areas such as surgery, emergency care and diagnostic imaging. That’s why several outpatient rooms will be created so they can be adapted to meet the immediate needs at hand.
Patient-Focused: A smooth patient experience will begin with a welcoming registration area and lead to a peaceful waiting room. Finally, a private hallway will guide patients to the exam rooms. Staff and provider pathways and workstations are kept separate from patient areas so that the patient receives a streamlined visit.
Community Development: With an innovative design, leading-edge technology and a visible location along Highway 10, the new facility will strengthen both Tri-County Health Care and our communities’ position within the region. This will help to attract and retain the best medical team possible and promote commercial development and partnerships.
Security: The new facility brings a majority of patient care services under one roof and centralizes entry points to allow for better security, safety and efficient navigation for patients, guests and employees.
Safety: The world changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. It did, however, provide new information and research on how these types of illnesses spread. That new knowledge was applied to new mitigation and infection control designs for this new building.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 1 - Intro
Introducing.. Behind the Barricade! This new video series provides you with all the latest updates right on the construction site of our future home! Stay tuned for more episodes.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 2 - Connecting the new facility
This episode explains the new extension of Greenwood Ave. that will be a supply line for supplies, food and staff at the new facility. The new water system and new utilities are also beginning to be installed.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 3: Preparing the foundation
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, we take you through the planning for the concrete and foundation of our new building. Cement trucks will be pouring in the coming weeks and the facility will really begin to take shape!
Behind the Barricade - Episode 4: Pouring the concrete foundation
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, we show the very first concrete being poured for the project. This concrete is the foundation for our future building and we're proud to partner with a local business for this portion of the project!
Behind the Barricade: BONUS EPISODE - The importance of concrete spread pads
In this bonus episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains the importance of concrete spread pads for holding up the structure of the new building.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 5: The first steel beams are installed!
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Joel Beiswenger, President & CEO explains the process of installing the steel infrastructure and provides updates on concrete and other items of the project.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 6: Installing the wall panels
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains the purpose of the bright green wall panels that have been installed on the new building.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 7: The roof insulation is here!
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains the big piles of white blocks that were recently delivered to the building site.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 8: Fireproofing
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains how the crew fireproofs the building. This process is something most people don't see!
Behind the Barricade - Episode 9: Electrical and sewer pipes
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains all the different pipes being installed throughout the building site.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 10: Finishing the foundation
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan walks us through how the crew is completing the foundation and why that's an important step before winter arrives.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 11: The beautiful bricks!
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan looks at one of the most visual aspects of the new building - the exterior bricks! Take a look at the two different colored bricks and learn how they are being installed.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 12: Installing the steel structure
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains the crew's progress with the steel structure. Getting the steel up will help prepare them for working on the inside of the structure this winter!
Behind the Barricade - Episode 13: Celebrating another milestone
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, we hit a milestone as the "topping off" ceremonial final beam is installed.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 14: A beacon in the night
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains both the utility and visual aspects of our overhanging canopy in front of the new clinic.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 15: An elevated look at the project
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan heads up to the roof to explain what the crew has been up to getting everything prepped and sealed before the project moves to the interior work during the cold winter months.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 16: Pouring the interior concrete slabs
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan takes us inside and explains the process for pouring the cement slabs and why some areas need thicker bases for the new building.
Behind the Barricade - Episode 17: Interior walls and Virtual Design & Construction
This week's episode of Behind the Barricade is one of our most exciting ones yet! Ryan walks us through the construction of our interior walls as the interior starts to come together. He also explains a fascinating process where all the contractors come together to use Virtual Design & Construction software to make sure the various pipes and electrical fit together efficiently!
Behind the Barricade: Episode 18 - Looking at the big beautiful windows
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains how the window frames and windows are installed at the new facility.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 19 - The appealing front façade
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan talks about the beautiful brick on the front facade that will greet all future patients at the new healthcare facility.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 20 - Hanging sheetrock
In the 20th episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan takes us inside the facility to explain the process of hanging sheetrock.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 21 - Inside the operating room
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan gives us a sneak peek of one of the operating rooms at the new facility.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 22 - Preparing for the future
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan discusses how we're already preparing for a future expansion while we're in the middle of the current project.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 23 - Steps to finishing the walls
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan explains the steps that ensure walls are finished and safe for patients and staff in the hospital and clinic.
Behind the Barricade: Episode 24 - The new café (New name reveal!)
In this episode of Behind the Barricade, Ryan announces the new cafe's name and shares a fun fact about the construction.
The Future of Health Care
President and CEO, Joel Beiswenger recapped what has gone into planning for the project and what this building means for the communities for many years to come.
Imagine. Build. Transform. Groundbreaking Ceremony 2021
Tri-County Health Care hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on May 21, 2021 to commemorate the start of construction for our health care center of the future. The event featured several guest speakers from Tri-County plus local and state political representatives.
This virtual fly-through/tour shows a rendering of what the new facility will look like.
Welcome to Astera Health
We are excited to announce that Tri-County Health Care is transitioning to Astera Health in 2023. With our new building opening in 2023, the timing is right for Tri-County to make this name change for many reasons.
- Tri-County Health Care is still regularly misused/misquoted as Tri-County Hospital. We are not only a hospital; we are developing the rural health center of the future.
- Our current and prospective patient base is broader than our three-county area.
- Tri-County is used by others in the area (Tri-County Livestock, Tri-County Equipment, etc.). It is not a unique brand nor specific to our healthcare purpose.
- We have done this before when our last facility was built in 1974. The Wesley Hospital was opened in 1925 by the Methodist Church. The Board elected to change the name from Wesley to Tri-County Hospital in 1974 for the same reasons we have today
We are proud to be a strong, independent health system and our new name also reflects this.
Our new name revealed...
The Future of Health Care
Health care is changing. When Tri-County Hospital was built 50 years ago, inpatient care accounted for 90 percent of our business, and the facility design reflected that care. Patients expected to stay multiple days and needed the right care and environment for their extended stay.
Better technology and enhanced practices have led to shorter hospital stays and allow many post-surgical patients to go home the same day. As a result, our inpatients now only account for 13 percent of our business. This shift means outpatient care is the primary focus.
We believe our patients deserve a facility that is as strong as the communities we serve and reflects the best quality of care they can receive, but the current facility does not meet these expectations. The existing facility, with its disjointed layout offering care in three separate buildings with multiple entry points, is landlocked on four acres and limited in flexibility and expansion possibilities. This isn’t efficient or effective for supporting current or future needs.
In response to the changing health care climate, Tri-County Health Care, in conjunction with input from patients and the community, has designed a bold and forward-looking vision for the new health care center that will serve local communities for the next 50 to 100 years. The proposed facility will be located on a beautiful new property west of Wadena along Highway 10, bringing greater visibility and physically positioning Tri-County Health Care for future expansion as the needs of patients and the community evolve.
Current Economic Impact = $106 million
With 470 employees and over $40 million in annual wages and benefits, Tri-County Health Care is one of the largest employers in the region. Our health care system contributes to the creation of positions with other organizations that are needed to support the great service we provide to our patients. This activity increases commerce locally in retail sales, housing, home repairs, food, and the purchase of additional services which equates to an additional 124 jobs in the region.
Combined wages, salaries and benefits of all these jobs is over $48 million each year. This is money that goes back into our community. In total, this $48 million turns into more than $106 million as the dollars are handed from one organization to another, resulting in more jobs and more money spent on goods and services.
Economic Impact from Construction = $43 million
The construction cost of Tri-County Health Care’s rural health center of the future is budgeted for $61 million. Based on 9 employees per $1 million in construction cost, that means 550 people will receive wages and benefits as a result of this work valued at over $19 million. As those wages and benefits are spent on goods and services and housing, over $43 million will be spent in our region above and beyond the cost of the construction.
Future Economic Impact = an additional $9.6 million annually
As Tri-County Health Care works to build its new health care center, scheduled to open early in 2023, it has been forecast that 48 new jobs will be created. An additional $4.4 million in new wages, salaries and benefits will be added to the organization as we expand our service lines. As these dollars cycle through our economy, more than $9.6 million of incremental dollars will flow through various organizations and businesses every year!
Questions From The Community
Q: Will this project increase my taxes?
A: Tri-County does not have the ability to impose or control local taxes. The cost to extend utilities will be paid by Tri-County and is estimated at $3.2 million. Tri-County has also purchased the land directly. It is also important to note the substantial increase in taxes that will be paid by Tri-County. The current property taxes on the Highway 10 land are $2,000 per year. The property taxes paid by Tri-County once the building is built will be estimated to be over $400,000 per year. This will result in a huge benefit to taxpayers!
Additionally, any roadway changes on HWY-10 and 11th St. NW are being paid for with a combination of a state bonding bill and MnDOT grant, with any additional costs being provided by Tri-County. Anticipated improvements on Greenwood Ave are being funded by MnDOT county/state aide highway funding.
Q: Will this new modern building increase my cost of healthcare?
A: Tri-County does not charge for healthcare based on the facility. In fact, any changes in rates are based on what the insurance plans will pay us. Since we will have expanded services, there may be care that a patient’s plan covers at a different rate, but that is up to the medical plan that people are under.
Q: What will happen to current buildings?
A: We expect to use approximately 30,000 square feet of our existing space. Much of our non-clinical staff will remain in the current building to continue to utilize the space. There has been a lot of work done in the Wesley building with a new elevator and heating and cooling system, which sets it up for a bright future. We are working with economic development groups to repurpose the Wesley building and the current rehabilitation building. There is no intention of tearing anything down or abandoning these structures.
Additionally, due to COVID-19, our staff have adapted to a virtual world. This change has allowed our organization to become adept at working together even when some staff members are at different Tri-County locations or at home.
Q: Will there be an increase in operating costs while maintaining the buildings on the old site?
A: We have analyzed the data, and overall operational costs are expected to rise. However, our goal is to centralize our staff in portions of the current building to maximize efficiency. Each area in the facility has its own heating and cooling systems, so we will have the ability to focus on staffed portions while maintaining vacant areas.
Q: How will this project be financed?
A: Most of the project will be financed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its rural development office. This is projected to be about two-thirds of the financing, and TCHC has developed a good working relationship with the USDA having completed a dozen projects with them over the last 20 years. Supplemental financing will be done through a consortium of banks. Additionally, the Tri-County Health Care Foundation has set a philanthropy goal of $3 million to help complete the financing need for the new facility.
Q: Why is the helipad not located on the roof?
A: The new health care facility’s 125,900 square feet will all be located on one level. Having the helipad located on the roof presents several structural and financial challenges. It would require the structure to be built to support more weight, an elevator to be installed and a catch basin to avoid fuel spills. In addition, if a helicopter has mechanical issues, it would require a crane to be removed from the building.
Q: What is the reasoning behind the current design?
A: We have employed a design firm with deep experience in our industry and building design in general. More natural light and views of the outdoors will provide a healing and positive environment for patients and employees. The interior is highly efficient.
Additionally, the new facility will be much easier to traverse. We are using a design concept called onstage/ offstage which provides much greater separation of patient space from staff space. This layout is a big part of enhancing privacy while creating a calm and healing atmosphere for the new building.
Q: What can I do to support our community in this modernization effort?
A: TCHC would be pleased to accept donations of any dollar amount. Visit our Foundation page to learn more about donating. We also appreciate everyone voicing your support to local officials.
Q: Has the project increased in cost after the one-year delay?
A: Costs of materials are expected to be higher than originally anticipated due to inflation for items like general lumber, steel support and drywall. However, the cost of labor went down to offset much of those increases. The overall cost of the project remains approximately the same amount despite the delay.
Q: Is there a storm shelter? Will patients be safe during a tornado or high winds?
A: It is true that we are building a single-story building without a lower level but the structure of the building is steel and masonry so it is inherently safe. Precautions built into the structure will make it a suitable storm shelter when needed. We do have interior rooms without windows that patients and staff can use during storm events.
Q: Will wetlands in the area be affected?
A: Approximately 30 percent of our 76 acres are identified as wetlands. Approximately 4.1 acres of wetlands had to be impacted with the construction of the new building. We have partnered with Soil & Water Conservation departments and other local, state and federal agencies to meet all mitigation requirements. We did this to provide the best possible solution for preserving the natural landscape. Using the wetland credit bank process, we have provided funding to support the replacement of these wetlands in other areas.
Q: Why have so many trees been removed?
A: We tried very hard to only remove enough trees to facilitate the project. The building site has been identified as a habitat for a protected bat species. We have followed advice from environmental agencies to ensure that we are not negatively impacting the bats’ migration and nesting process. We have removed habitat, but because we did so in the appropriate time frame, normal migration occurs. The bats will find other trees to nest on our property or elsewhere.
Q: Are houses being constructed behind the hospital?
A: The activity you see on the northwest corner of our property is associated with our use of construction-grade fill and sand available in that portion of the property. This has saved us several hundred thousand dollars by not having to purchase soil and transport it. We constructed a temporary road to avoid impacting the other township and county roads around the property. Currently, there are no plans to do any other construction. However, in our long-term vision of the site, we do believe there are many developable acres and new housing on the northern side of the property could be a possibility.
Q: Where exactly is the main entrance?
A: There will be two entrances for patients and guests. Both are located on the south side (Hwy 10 side) of the building. The west entrance will be considered the main daytime entrance for our clinics and many of our hospital services. That entrance will be open and staffed during the day, with definitive hours to be determined. The east entrance, which is located by the emergency department and ReadyCare, will be our 24-hour entrance and how you access those services. This is also where you enter if you wanted to visit an inpatient.
December 20, 2021
Construction crews installed the last structural steel beam in front of several staff members, board members, and community members.
August 23, 2021
Tri-County Health Care announced publicly the plan to rebrand to Astera Health. This name change will be reflected at all locations, including satellite clinics. The change will become official upon the opening of the new facility. Learn more
May 21, 2021
Tri-County Health Care hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction for our health care center of the future. The event featured several guest speakers from Tri-County plus local and state political representatives.
The history and legacy of Tri-County Health Care are rich with stories of doctors, nurses, staff and leaders creating a healthcare landscape that’s innovative, personalized, and efficient. Reflecting on the old makes us appreciate the present while looking forward to the future. This isn’t the first time we’ve broken ground or set out to make something new or better. However, this time we are building toward a future that has limitless possibilities. We’re thankful for all of our partners and contributors who are supporting us on this journey.
March 25, 2021
Joel Beiswenger, President & CEO, reported that Tri-County Health Care's "Imagine. Build. Transform." building project officially resumed. The delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic ended up being just one year and the projected grand opening is now Spring of 2023. He noted in a press conference that the overall project cost did not change much due to the delay. Material costs were higher than anticipated, but the cost of labor went down after going to bid in December-January.
April 2, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has led to health care facilities across the country to shift focus from regular patient flow to preparing for this emergency situation. Tri-County Health Care has taken on a lead role in the efforts for community mitigation efforts in the area. However, this has led to the difficult decision to suspend activities related to continued planning and construction of the new building project, Joel Beiswenger, President and CEO, announced during a virtual press conference on Wednesday morning. The suspension, effective immediately, is expected to delay the process by at least one construction season. Read the full press release here.
February 12, 2020
We are pleased that the Wadena City Council on February 11, 2020:
- Approved the Development Agreement
- Approved the re-zoning of the land
- Voted to move forward with annexation of the property to have it fully within Wadena city limits
We thank the city leaders for their foresight and support for this important community asset.