Altru unveils mock-ups of new hospital rooms

Mock-ups designed to help staff get a better sense of their future workplace

Grand Forks residents got a bare-bones look at Altru’s new hospital Monday.

In a warehouse near the corner of Gateway Drive and North 42nd Street, Altru staff showcased a dozen patient rooms fashioned from multicolored pieces of foam.

The mock-up rooms were built to scale to be “as real as possible,” Luke Diekman with JLG Architects said.

Monday’s event included mock-ups of operating rooms, intensive care units and labor delivery rooms.

The hospital held the event off site because the health care provider didn’t have the space on its campus for the showcase, said Josh Kehrwald, senior project manager with JLG.

Since Altru signed a lease for the warehouse space in summer, JLG has been meeting once a month with hospital staff to gather feedback on the new rooms and workspaces, Diekman said.

The mock-ups are designed to help staff get a better sense of their future workplace, according to JLG representatives.

“It’s easier than looking at lines on paper,” Kehrwald said.

The new rooms will be a little bit bigger than the rooms on Altru’s existing campus, Kehrwald said. However, the new facility’s rooms will have less variability in their design to improve workflow for hospital staff.

“There will be more patient-focused features such as dedicated space for families, more technology available to the patients, and more access to natural light,” Kehrwald said.

Patient rooms in the new facility will exceed code requirements for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Kehrwald said. Like the existing facility, the new hospital will have more than 200 rooms for patients, said Kellee Fisk, Altru’s chief people and strategy officer.

The new rooms also are intended to align with Altru’s goal to establish a “park-like” hospital, company officials said.

“The access to the natural environment first begins with creating a park-like setting around the hospital, which becomes accessible to patients either physically, by being able to walk through it and experience it, or visually, by being able to view it from a patient room,” Fisk said.

Altru plans to break ground “within the next two months,” according to a Jan. 10 media advisory. The company previously stated groundbreaking could begin in February.

Construction is expected to wrap up in 2022.