Wagner, SD, Sep 12, 2012 -- Elsie M. Meeks, USDA Rural Development State Director, was in Wagner today to help celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new inpatient wing addition and hospital remodel project on the campus of Wagner Community Memorial Hospital – Avera (WCMH-A).
“The hospital administration has provided the community of Wagner with a tremendous opportunity to bring expanded and more effective health care services to this rural community,” offered Meeks. “This project is an example of the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to provide rural areas access to adequate health care. It encourages economic development and maintains the quality of life for South Dakota’s rural residents.”
The Wagner Community Memorial Hospital – Avera has served as a general medical and surgical hospital for more than 59 years. The facility provides healthcare to Wagner and surrounding areas. The new inpatient wing and hospital remodel will enhance the quality of medical care and services to the Wagner and surrounding areas. The facility utilizes new technologies and features and has been designed for efficient use of space, which will increase the privacy available for patients.
USDA Rural Development awarded a direct loan of $1,500,000 and approved a conditional commitment for a loan of $1,250,000 to the Wagner Community Memorial Hospital - Avera to use towards the construction of the new critical access hospital inpatient wing and hospital remodel. The federal funds were leveraged with a Community Development Block Grant of $309,000 and an applicant contribution of $941,000; for a total project cost of $4,000,000.
“The completion of this final phase of the campus master plan has placed WCMH-A as one of the most advanced rural facilities in the region if not the nation. The only way WCMH-A could enhance and advance the delivery of healthcare in Wagner was to assure that the excellent staff at WCMH-A had the tools (facility, equipment and technology) which matched their capabilities and we did just that,” said Bryan Slaba, Chief Executive Officer of the Wagner Community Memorial Hospital - Avera. He continued, “By partnering with our USDA-RD and Commercial State Bank of Wagner, WCMHA-A was able to leverage the outstanding outpouring of community support in the form of over $900,000 in pledges towards the project. The end result is that Wagner and the surrounding communities will have accessible, affordable, quality healthcare for the foreseeable future. I can’t thank USDA-RD and Commercial State Bank enough for their involvement and dedication to assure the sustainability of our rural community, but most importantly I need to thank the tremendous support received from our communities without which this project could not have happened.”
For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.