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Prairie St. John's plans new $40 million psychiatric hospital in Fargo

Prairie St. John’s has announced plans to build a new "state of the art" facility in Fargo, with 128 beds as well as residential and partial hospitalization care. Officials are expected to decide soon whether the hospital will be built on the current grounds near Island Park or at a new site in south Fargo. Forum file photo

FARGO — Prairie St. John's, now occupying a building that dates back more than a century, will build a new psychiatric hospital in a project that could begin construction next spring.

Plans call for a project that is in the range of $40 million to $42 million and a facility with 128 beds as well as space for residential and partial hospitalization care.

"The new hospital will be state of the art for a behavioral health facility, with dramatically increased naturally lit areas, improved treatment and group room space," said Jeff Herman, Prairie St. John's chief executive officer.

The new building also will be "significantly more energy efficient and optimized for the staffing experience," he said.

Universal Health Services, which owns Prairie St. John's, hasn't yet decided whether to build the new building on the current site of the behavioral health hospital near Island Park, or to build at a new location in south Fargo.

A decision about the location is expected in the coming weeks or months, Herman said.

Prairie St. John's, 510 4th St. S., was founded in 1997 and provides behavioral health services for children, adolescents and adults. The hospital became a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, based in Pennsylvania, in 2010.

The original building housing Prairie St. John's was built in 1904 as St. John's Hospital by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Minneapolis. It occupies the site of what once was the residence of the late Bishop John Shanley, replacing an earlier St. John's Hospital built in 1900.

The hospital had 87 beds when built in 1904. A training school for nurses, and a nurses' residence, opened across the street two years later. Major additions to the hospital were added in the 1960s, and the building has undergone many interior renovations over the decades.

Universal Health Services, which has more than 350 acute care, behavioral health and ambulatory care centers, is one of the nation's largest hospital management companies. It has, according to the company's website, more than 83,000 employees and treats 2.6 million patients per year.

The new Prairie St. John's will be the latest in a slate of new hospitals in Fargo. The Sanford Medical Center at 5225 23rd St. S. opened in 2017, and Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital will open later this summer at 4671 38th St. S.

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to letters@forumcomm.com

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