Hospital plans largest expansion in its history

Fairview Ridges Hospital is planning a $60 million expansion that includes a new medical office building and parking ramp. Photo by John Gessner

Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville is planning a $60 million expansion, the largest since it opened in 1984.

The hospital isn’t adding beds; it’s still licensed for 150, said Fairview Ridges President Beth Krehbiel.

Much of the expansion focuses on ambulatory care  without overnight hospital stays — the future of health care, she said.

“We’re working to create spaces that are more convenient for patients at a lower cost,” Krehbiel said.

Plans call for a 130,000-square-foot medical office building in back of the hospital, behind the emergency entrance, and a 40,000-square-foot hospital expansion. Eventually, the hospital’s main entrance will likely be shifted from the north side of the building to the south, hospital officials say.

The new five-story building will have a skyway connection to the hospital. A three-level, 400-stall parking ramp is also planned.

Ground-breaking is planned for this spring. About half of the expansion is expected to be finished by the end of next year, according to the city.

“This is certainly the biggest expansion in the history of the hospital,” Krehbiel said in an interview. “We’ve done lots of expansions and adding on.” This one is more strategic than past additions that added basic capacity, she said.

The City Council approved measures Feb. 19 that set the stage for the expansion. The development plans will go before the council on March 19, Krehbiel said.

The Feb. 19 actions also involve land owned by Park Nicollet Health Services, a neighbor of the hospital on the 108-acre Ridges Campus, which houses medical buildings, senior housing, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and the Minnesota Valley YMCA.

A land swap between Fairview and Park Nicollet, which has a clinic on the campus west of the hospital, will give 36,900 square feet to Fairview and 74,400 square feet to Park Nicollet.

Park Nicollet has concept plans for a new medical building, but it would be several years away, said Duane Spiegle, Park Nicollet’s vice president of real estate and support services.

Also approved Feb. 19 were plans to extend Fairview Drive, which provides access to Fairview Ridges and Park Nicollet, from Nicollet Boulevard to Nicollet Avenue. Also planned are pedestrian crossing improvements sought by Fairview between the Prince of Peace parking lot and the hospital’s north entrance.

The estimated $3 million in road improvements will be paid by Fairview and Park Nicollet.
Hospital project

The expansion follows a 2004-06 project that added fifth and sixth floors to the hospital. The fifth floor houses the oncology surgical unit, and the sixth, which had remained vacant,  is being built out now, Krehbiel said. The floor will house the orthopedic-spine unit, she said.

The new medical building will include a heart center, many oncology services, orthopedic and spine services, imaging and radiology, an ambulatory surgery center and an endoscopy center, Krehbiel said.

Lab space in the hospital will be expanded from about 4,700 square feet in various locations to a 7,000-square-foot lab.

“We can’t add another piece of equipment to do testing,” Krehbiel said. “We honestly don’t have any other square footage, none.”

The hospital’s second floor will become an observation unit, for those patients whose stay is usually less than 24 hours.

Expanded space for observation patients will take pressure off the 150 hospital beds, Krehbiel said, adding that at times the hospital has had to turn some patients away for lack of bed space.