MLHS expansion changes parking on Onamia campus

by Mary Rains

Mille Lacs Health System

This fall, Mille Lacs Health System will begin site work prep for the Next Chapter: Building Our Healthy Future expansion project on its Onamia campus.

Beginning Sept 4th, the entry to the parking lot of MLHS in Onamia (on the southeast side of the horseshoe-shaped campus), where the old Crosier school building is, will be closed. Crews will begin work on a new helipad for emergency helicopter transports, which will be located in that area. A new entrance will be created on the west side of the lot.

In addition, there will be construction on water and sewer lines in the area that runs in front of the Emergency, Same Day Surgery, and Outpatient entrances at some point this fall as well. When access is affected, patients will be directed to an alternative entry detour.

“This will all happen in quick phases throughout the fall,” said MLHS CEO Bill Nelson. “There will not be any disruption in patient care or services we provide. Though it is a temporary inconvenience, we want to urge patients and employees alike to drive slow around the construction area and watch for signs which may direct parking elsewhere.”

Nelson went on to say that all trucks used for imaging (MRI, CT) will still be on the campus, though they may be relocated from where they usually park. The helipad will always be operational to serve those in acute need of emergency air transport, whether in the current spot or the new one. “None of these services will be disrupted during any phase of the construction,” Nelson assured. “Our first priority is patients, and we will make sure every effort is taken to protect patient access to care.”

The expansion project is moving forward, with fundraising committees already in place to take up the mantle of community giving that brought the hospital into existence some 60-plus years ago.

This initial phase of the expansion project will occur this fall, and then construction won’t resume until spring of 2020.