Astera Health to host grand opening of new campus
Astera Health’s grand opening of its new hospital will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18. Starting at noon, community members are invited to enjoy staff-guided tours at the free event.
WADENA — It’s not every day a new multimillion-dollar hospital and clinic open in your backyard. And now Wadena residents wanting a glimpse can get a firsthand look at it.
Astera Health will host a grand opening ceremony for its new medical campus west of Wadena along Highway 10 in Otter Tail County from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18.
“Saturday, the 18th is the ribbon-cutting and public open house,” Astera Health CEO Joel Beiswenger said of the free event, which will include refreshments and guided tours.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and staff-guided tours begin at noon.
Astera Health is a private, nonprofit health care system based in Wadena. It offers care services such as primary health, surgery, cancer care, diagnostic imaging, obstetrics, orthopedics and rehabilitation. It was formerly known as Tri-County Health Care.
Linnea Gray said she was able to get a glimpse of the new facility along Highway 10 as part of an earlier Deer Creek Lions Club tour of the construction site.
“It’s a big facility,” Gray said. “I think probably the biggest difference is when you go in as a patient or whatever, you go to a room whereas right now you go through the nurse's station, the doctor’s station and everything.”
The new 125,900-square-foot facility sits on 76 acres in Otter County, and the site was selected to bring greater visibility and physically position Astera Health for future expansion as the needs of patients and the community evolve, according to Beiswenger.
“We had been doing, over the course of the years, projects almost every other year,” Beiswenger said of remodeling Astera Health’s decades-old hospital in Wadena. “But we still had a less-than-satisfactory solution in our primary care clinic, our inpatient unit and surgery.”
The hospital campus has been located at 415 Jefferson St. N. in Wadena. The new campus is located on city-annexed land just over the Wadena County border in Otter Tail County and was built at a cost of about $50 million after the ground was broken in 2021.
“The primary care clinic, the inpatient unit and surgery have been a big part of why we planned on building a new campus rather than continuing to remodel because there was so much to do … and we just couldn't find the right solution,” Beiswenger said.
Gray was a patient at the hospital at Astera’s “Legacy Campus” at 415 Jefferson St. N. where the facility was built in 1974 in Wadena County.
“The ambulance entrance (at the Legacy Campus) — where the ambulance comes in and takes patients into the ER — crosses paths with the public entrance, so this is designed so that won’t happen,” Beiswenger said touring the new facility in Otter Tail County.
Gray lives about 10 miles west of Wadena and is the manager of Hometown Crafts & Fabrics in downtown Wadena.
“I'm sure that there's going to be some new things there to accommodate the town … some new features that you didn't have before, which is nice,” Gray said of the new Astera Health campus. “It's always going to be an upgrade from what you had before. Otherwise, they wouldn't do it.”
Beiswenger said about a third of the Astera Health staff will remain at the Legacy Campus — support areas like billing, medical records, marketing, human resources, things like that — and about 95% of the new facility along Highway 10 will be used for direct patient care services.
“It's a little bit out of town so you don't get that congestion right now where you always have to watch for traffic or whatever … so I'm hoping the confusion is not going to be so bad and the parking will be a little bit easier to do,” said Gray, who plans on attending the grand opening.
Astera Health operates a hospital and medical clinic in Wadena and serves the counties of Wadena, Todd and Otter Tail through five satellite clinics and two physical therapy clinics in Bertha, Henning, Ottertail, Sebeka and Verndale.