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New Gundersen St. Joseph's hospital closer to reality
Hospital plans to hire consultant to design new building
gundersen st josephs hillsboro exterior
An exterior shot of Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics in Hillsboro. Current technologies such as computers, cable TV and air conditioning have been retrofitted into the aging building. - photo by Contributed/Susan Zimmerman

Later this month the Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital marks 63 years of service to patients and families in Hillsboro and surrounding communities.

In addition to this milestone, staff and the community can also celebrate progress toward a goal to complement the quality care patients already receive: building a new hospital.

Gundersen St. Joseph’s will release a request for proposal (RFP) in the coming weeks to hire a consultant or consultants to help plan, design and evaluate the scale and scope of the project.

“Our current hospital was built with the best technology available in the 1950s, long before air conditioning, cable TV, computers and cell phones,” said Jim Mlsna, chairman of the board, Gundersen St. Joseph Hospital and Clinics. “Almost all of those technologies have been retrofitted into an old building over the years. We need to increase our efficiencies and enhance the way we care for our patients. A new hospital would allow our staff to provide the best possible care, in a healing environment, close to home.”

Convenient, high-quality care for rural patients was a goal in 2011 when what was St. Joseph’s Health Services affiliated with Gundersen and eventually became Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics. This goal drives care today and the push for a new hospital.

“Patient experience – including privacy and a healing environment – is so important for how we care for patients,” said Deb Smith, chief executive officer, Gundersen St. Joseph Hospital and Clinics. “Similarly, our staff needs an efficient space to better-treat increasingly complex conditions. The RFP process moves us toward a better care environment and, ultimately, better care for the rural patients and communities we serve.”