Take a first look inside Avera on Louise, set to open later this year

Jan. 28, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Journey Group.

The end of 2018 brought a big milestone for the year’s biggest construction project in Sioux Falls: The approximately 270,000-square-foot building at Avera on Louise was enclosed.

That means construction manager at risk Journey Group now has moved entirely inside, putting together the multifaceted medical center scheduled to open in October.

“We had it all buttoned up right before winter set in,” said Aaron Eich, project manager.

“Currently day to day we have about 200 people (on site). Every type of trade: drywall, flooring, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, painting, casework, carpentry work. Basically every aspect of interior fit-up is going on at this site at this moment.”

The project can be divided into three pieces, each at various stages of completion. The three-story medical office building will hold specialties such as orthopedics, gastroenterology, rheumatology and internal medicine.

It’s the farthest along, with much of the flooring, ceiling and electrical installed.

“We’re basically into our last phase of installing casework,” Eich said.

A three-story atrium attached to it also is taking shape. With large windows and a broad open area, it will include gathering spaces, a cafe and a waterfall.

“The atrium is the spine connecting the medical office building to the hospital,” project superintendent Eric Bender said. “It’s a three-story open atrium, and we currently have the sheetrock ongoing. Things are really changing in each area as we finish those out.”

Next, a terrazzo-finished floor will be installed, with a goal of finishing much of the atrium by April.

The atrium connects to a five-story hospital with a basement. The floors there are in different stages of construction. Operating suites and patient rooms are beginning to take shape.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how Avera on Louise is coming together,” said Dick Molseed, Avera’s executive vice president of strategy and governance.

Avera has started to give limited tours of the building, and Molseed said doctors and medical staff have been impressed by the efficiencies built into it and the easy flow created for patients.

“Businesspeople are very excited about it when we bring them in to tour,” Molseed said. “A year from now on this campus we will have generated about 600 jobs, a number of new technologies and a lot of services that don’t exist in the Sioux Falls area right now.”

The design will have “quite an Avera feel,” he added. The theme is “horizons,” and the outside will incorporate the look of the prairie while the inside will bring in light and water.

“I think it’s going to be a welcoming feel. It’s going to be open to the public. We’ll have waterfalls and patios, so we’ll have a lot of outdoor space as well,” Molseed said.

At more than $100 million, “this is the most expensive project ever done in the city of Sioux Falls. It’s on time, and it’s on budget.”

Journey is continuing to meet with the design team throughout the project, making adjustments as needed and keeping Avera continually informed on the progress.

“Overall, the project really hasn’t had any big surprises,” Eich said. “We’ve been on schedule and on budget the whole time. It’s been going great.”

It’s also the latest chapter in a decades-long relationship between Journey and Avera. Along with Avera on Louise, Journey crews are working on multiple improvements on the main Avera McKennan campus in Sioux Falls and throughout Avera’s multistate service area.

“Journey just has that level of professionalism that just surrounds everything they do,” Molseed said. “It permeates to the subcontractors with how they do business, how they conduct themselves. It’s the highest level of ethics, and so it just couldn’t be better.”

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Take a first look inside Avera on Louise, set to open later this year

It’s the biggest construction project in the city’s history — and it’s heading toward an opening date. Come with us for a look inside Avera on Louise.

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