Aspirus starts work on U.P. hospital project

LAURIUM – Aspirus Health Care System conducted a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for an addition to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium.

The 34,000-square-foot project, which is expected to be finished in March 2016, will include a new emergency center; expanded trauma, procedure and exam rooms; new intensive care unit; new in-patient rooms; new pre- and post-surgical recovery suites; and upgraded technology and internal communication systems.

Mike Hauswirth, chief operating officer for Aspirus Keweenaw and Aspirus Ontonagon hospitals, said the AKH board of directors had discussed an expansion of the hospital for some time.

“We have literally spent years budgeting and planning to get to this point,” he said. “This project is all about excellence in action. Every aspect of the project is about patient care.”

Chuck Nelson, Aspirus Upper Peninsula regional CEO, said he’s glad the upgrades are finally happening.

Nelson said the expansion and upgrades at AKH are part of many improvements involving the Aspirus system.

“A lot of things are happening within this organization,” he said.

Dan Dahlquist, president of the AKH board, said it was time to make the improvements at the hospital because of the importance the facility has for the community.

“We need it now and we’re ready to start,” he said.

Dahlquist said the non-profit AKH has been part of the area for 100 years.

“We are a Keweenaw facility,” he said. “That is our heritage.”

Dave Voss, president of Miron Construction – general contractor for the project – said many local contractors will be used on the project.

State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, said being from Calumet he appreciates how important AKH is to the area.

“This is such an anchor to our community,” he said. “I’m very thankful Aspirus is investing in these facilities.”