The interior of the building that will house the Le Mars Area Dialysis Services center on Central Avenue in Le Mars is undergoing a transformation. Project superintendent Dan Califf, of New Hope Builders, says the project is slightly ahead of schedule. The first patient may be undergoing dialysis at the center as soon as early next year. The skeleton of the future Le Mars Area Dialysis Services (LADS) clinic is in place. All of the metal stud framing is complete for the 23 rooms in the clinic, including the front reception area and the patient area, where there will be nine dialysis stations.
Mike Donlin, a LADS board member, said the building will be set up to have three more stations in the future as well. The next step will be to begin plumbing and heating, air conditioning and ventilation work, according to project superintendent, Dan Califf, of New Hope Builders. "Right now we're a little ahead of schedule," Califf said.His work is slated to be completed by Dec. 27.
After that, water systems will be installed and tested, as will the rest of the dialysis equipment. As early as mid-January, the dialysis clinic may start to serve its first patient.
The center initially will only operate with that one patient, for a period of time, during which inspectors analyze the center's data. Once those inspectors are satisfied, the center can fully open, Donlin said. "We want to open the doors as soon as possible," he said. The number of potential dialysis patients for the center has risen from 17 to about 30, Donlin added. "That's a good number," he said.
The doctor that hosts the local nephrology clinic, Dr. Liem-Som Oei, of Renal Associates in Sioux City, will be the LADS center's medical director. The first patient for the center will be chosen from among Oei's patients, Donlin said.
Fresenius Medical Care, an international healthcare company that provides kidney dialysis services, will operate the Le Mars dialysis center, Donlin said. LADS has a 10-year contract with the company. "They'll run it day in and day out," Donlin said. "They know this game."
Construction has been underway for some time, and Califf has been on-site at the building on First Street Southwest and Central Avenue for about four weeks. The rest of the workers on site are subcontractors, many of which are local, Califf said. Work started with several weeks of demolition, taking out the old flooring, ductwork and electrical wiring. After the plumbing and electrical is underway, workers will install the drywall, drop ceilings, flooring and cabinets. All new windows will be added to the facility.
Work will also begin soon on a handicapped-accessible ramp at the south entrance, which will be the main patient entrance for the dialysis clinic.
A canopy will also be built there so patients can be under the cover of a roof as soon as they step out of their vehicles. Most of the basement will remain unused for the time being. A firewall will be installed there within a few weeks. "There's still a lot ahead of us," Califf said. The Oregon contractor New Hope Builders specializes in building dialysis centers like this one.Califf said this is the eighth dialysis clinic he's worked on. He said -- barring bad weather or delivery delays -- New Hope Builders generally completes projects on time. "Their experience with building these clinics was important to us," Donlin said. "We are very impressed."
A Michigan subcontractor that also has dialysis center experience did the metal framing and will complete the drywall and ceilings. "They know how these things go together," Califf said. Next Wednesday, Oct. 27, the LADS board will host a Dialysis Friends and Family meeting, open to the public, to give an update of progress on the clinic and answer any questions. Califf will also be present. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Floyd Valley Hospital Conference Room.
LADS Friends and Family meetings have been held about every six months for the past three years to keep the flow of communication about the project going. The idea of a local dialysis center has been long discussed in Le Mars, and the prospect became more formal after the LADS board was formed in 2006. Since then, more than $1 million has been raised for the project. Donlin said the LADS board is still seeking donations.
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