Mayo renovations get started

FAIRMONT – Infusion therapy is intensive therapy.

Patients typically receive their medication by IV, or sometimes through intramuscular injections or via the spinal column. They’re often cancer patients needing chemotherapy, or people who can’t take oral medications.

Soon, local patients in need of these services will get a little more sunshine in their lives.

Fundraising launched last year to create a new space for the infusion therapy department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. Construction began this week. Gary True of Hertzke Construction said their part in the project will be complete in three months, and the space should be open to patients by summer.

The finished product will be an expanded, sun-lit suite in a different part of the building, with six infusion therapy stations, two exam rooms, a physician office and a consultation office – all with natural lighting, a contrast from the current setting.

Carole Lohmann, speaking for the medical center’s auxiliary, has described the existing space as “almost a closeted area, with no outside windows. It’s a very dreary place to have to sit.”

Administrator Bob Bartingale is looking forward to offering what he has said will be a “true oncology center.”

“There is a need to update our infusion therapy space to better meet the needs of our patients,” Bartingale said. “This expansion project will provide patients with a more comfortable clinical area, both in space and atmosphere. Additionally, with our increased patient capacity, we can keep more patients’ care close to home.”

The facility expects to be able to treat more patients thanks to the additional room. Right now, 10 to 11 patients per day receive infusion therapy, but the number could go up to 14.

The project’s cost has been estimated at $445,000, with local contributions adding up to $245,000 in donations through Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont Auxiliary, Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont Foundation and Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation. Mayo is paying the remaining costs.