Local officials, healthcare providers react to Williston State College’s medical training facility

How medical facility impacts NW ND

The City of Williston and Williams County says expanding healthcare access in the region is key to population growth. Williston State College’s latest project will train students interested in going into healthcare fields.

With financial support from the state legislature, Williston State College will build a nearly $37 million medical training facility. College President Bernell Hirning says this facility will keep healthcare workers in the region versus having them finish their education elsewhere.

“[They can] complete years three and four and any other clinical work they would do in-person here right in Williston. We want [students] to be here in-person and they want to be here in-person,” said Hirning.

Of the new classes for the new facility, behavioral health is one in high demand locally. Clinical Director for Eckert Youth Home Dr. Leah Hoffman says the facility could help them get more workers.

“The one thing that keeps Eckert from growing as a behavioral health provider would be staff. We can get as big as we want as long as we have the staff to provide the services,” said Hoffman.

Williams County invested millions of dollars in behavioral health services through behavioral health grants in 2021 and 2023.

“A great way to grow our provider base is really creating that pipeline for education to be able to get students interested in the field. So, the building of the pipeline is a great way to grow our providers,” said County Community Engagement Coordinator Lindsey Harriman.

Paramedics and EMS courses would also benefit ambulance services around the region.

“It gives us at least a chance to make sure we have people that know what they are getting into when they go back to their communities and man the ambulance services,” said Williston Mayor Howard Klug.

The college and JLG Architects held public forums last week to discuss the possible designs for the facility. They hope to begin construction by next fall and be open in 2025.

Hirning says he plans on offering several courses like behavioral health, CMA and office support staff next year before the new facility is open.