MANKATO — The Mankato Clinic broke ground Tuesday on the latest addition to its Wickersham Health Campus.
The Children's Health Center will be a 56,000-square foot building just south of the clinic's existing Wickersham Health Campus clinic. It will not only house the pediatrics department but also a Mankato location for Gillette's Children's Specialty Healthcare and Pediatric Therapy Services.
The clinic is expected to open by next summer.
To show off the priority of the new center, the clinic's groundbreaking was highlighted by youngsters digging shovels into a pile of soft, freshly delivered sand that provided a perfect distraction from the official, less kid-friendly announcements.
Mankato Clinic CEO Randy Farrow called the project a collaboration of the best kind.
"We're going to have a really neat facility to serve the community for years to come," he said.
Obstetrician Mark Taylor, chair of the Mankato Clinic Board, said the project makes him proud to be part of the Mankato Clinic leadership.
"I can honestly say I've never had more fun (in a leadership position) than I've had on this project," Taylor said. "I've always been extremely proud to be a member of the board, but never more so than today."
The presence of Gillette has been one of the project's big selling points. Gillette Outreach Coordinator Lynn Carpentier said they've always had a good relationship with the clinic and Mankato.
"Our families take a lot of their vacation to be with us, and none of it is particularly fun," Carpentier said. With the new Gillette presence at the clinic, southern Minnesota families won't have to take so much time off from work to get the care they need for their children. Gillette's is based in of St. Paul.
The new facility's lower level will house some of the Mankato Clinic’s support services such as IT, health information and business office services.