Published November 16, 2021

New Hospital Proposed

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

Boost from State Legislature 

RUGBY – It is a start. A significant one too. 

Among the dollars allocated during the recent special session of the North Dakota legislature was $1 million “for the purpose of providing a grant for the construction of a new medical center located in the county seat of Pierce County.” 

No. You can’t build a hospital for $1 million, but the dollars allocated provide a substantial boost toward the realization of a new medical facility for what is now the Heart of America Medical Center in downtown. 

"The expected cost is about $50 million,” Rep. Jon O. Nelson, Dis. 14, Rugby

“What it is for is that we are proposing a new hospital. The expected cost is about $50 million,” said Rep. Jon O. Nelson, Dis. 14, Rugby. “We’ve applied for a USDA loan and have to have 10% of the equity. We have to come up with $5 million. The $1 million makes that more doable.” 

The Heart of America Medical Center serves people within at least a 50-mile radius of here. It is non-profit, non-denominational supported by 27 member churches. The facility is aging, having been added on in the 1940s, 60s, and again in the 1990s.  

“The clinic is a separate building. The heating is very inefficient as is the flow of staff and patients,” explained Nelson. “A new facility would also allow us to better use our workforce.” 

“A new facility would also allow us to better use our workforce.”  Nelson

Heart of America is considered a rural hospital and limited to 25 beds. As proposed, the new facility would have 8 to 10 in-patient beds and the remainder would primarily be long term beds which would replace the nursing home that is part of the facility today. A new building would allow nurses to attend to both sections. 

“Land has been purchased east of Rugby on the north side of the road. There’s nothing out there now. We’ll start a medical park there,” remarked Nelson. 

In addition to a clinic, hospital, and nursing home, it is hoped that other medical providers, such as dentists and optometrists, would be drawn to the proposed medical park. 

“We’ll have a building in the 60 to 70,000 square foot range,” Nelson

“We’ll have a building in the 60 to 70,000 square foot range,” said Nelson. “There’s room for other medical providers, if they choose to come out there.” 

An architect has been hired and preliminary drawings for the medical park are expected to be completed sometime in December. Approval for the USDA loan is not expected until early next year. 

“It’s moving pretty fast,” said Nelson. “We are just getting started with fundraising but we’re confident we’ll meet the $5 million mark and pave the way for health care to be a part of our community for years to come.” 


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