Kahler Slater partnered with Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital to design their physicians’ clinic and integrated replacement hospital on a new campus. Their vision was to create a “healing destination” that balanced innovation, efficiency and holistic healing at its wooded 70-acre site at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Key to project success, this newly formed organization received a $20 million dollar innovation grant from the Blandin Foundation.
The grant stressed creativity and required that the project be innovative in a number of key areas. Innovation highlights included the creation of an Integrated Delivery System and the first federally funded HUD 242 project in the State of Minnesota, which Kahler Slater helped secure. The integrated clinic model offers Grand Itasca opportunity for efficiencies and cost savings often unmet in rural settings. Shared equipment and procedural spaces make the vision of seamless care possible, and allow state-of-the-art equipment to be affordable. Designed to achieving optimal operational efficiencies, the clinic's 104 exam rooms in four care team pods are linked to diagnostic and treatment areas - which also serve inpatients. Near the campus entry are additional support services for patients and families, including community and diabetic education, nutritional counseling and cardiac rehabilitation. Kahler Slater additionally renovated the newest clinic building on the vacated campus to house ambulatory rehabilitation services. Kahler Slater's design team found deep inspiration in the beauty and serenity of the site embraced by the tall pine and hardwood forest, drawing heavily on influences from regional farming, timber and milling industries. A deep russet color, representative of the indigenous taconite ore from the area, is found throughout interior and exterior. Slatted "corn crib" fences and visual screens provide a reminder of agricultural heritage. Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital was the sole recipient of Modern Healthcare's 2009 Design Award of Excellence. Since opening, patient satisfaction scores have jumped 185%, gross revenue increased 50%, and volumes increased by as much as 22%.