Changes tell the story of Sanford’s commitment

Editor’s Note: In late August 1961, the Tracy Municipal Hospital was added to the city’s landscape. Today, Sanford Tracy is preparing to honor the hospital’s history by highlighting the present as its 60th anniversary nears. In conjunction with Sanford Tracy, the Tracy Area Headlight Herald this week begins a four-part series that focuses on the progress the medical center has made over the last decades, as well as the dedicated work its employees have done during the pandemic.

Today: Lab/ER additions

It has been just over five years since Sanford took over full ownership of the Tracy Municipal Hospital, and it sure has squeezed a lot of changes into that short amount of time.

As Sanford celebrates the 60th year of health care in Tracy — dating back to when the hospital opened in the late summer of 1961 — it does so with an appreciation of the past, great pride in the present and all the recent changes, and optimism toward the future.

One of the biggest and most notable changes at the hospital has been the 2019 expansion, which has proven beneficial for patients, as well as staff and providers.

“It’s really given our employees an environment that they can be more efficient, more available to care for patients,” said Stacy Barstad, who has been in the Sanford Tracy system for 23 years — first as CFO for 11 years, before becoming CEO in 2009. “I also think it sends a sign that we’re committed to our hospital. We want to have the best for our patients, and when you have the surroundings like we do, and all the equipment and the upgrades, I think it says something to the employees that we want them to have the best to be able to provide the best care.”

The result of the remodeling was a second emergency room bay, and an expansion and upgrade of medical lab facilities; the estimated cost for the ER was about $370,000, and for the lab, roughly $280,000. Sanford, which began leasing the hospital building in 1997, received a $125,000 grant from the Minnesota Dept. of Health in 2015, and that, along with a City of Tracy hospital reserve fund, funded the project. Both the new lab and expanded ER were constructed within Sanford Tracy’s existing footprint.

Construction was done in phases. The medical lab was Phase One, with the emergency room addition designated as Phase Two. The new medical lab is located in space on the hospital’s north side that was most recently used for medical records and was once a kitchen area. The 700-square foot lab has new heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical services.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.