KIMBALL, Neb. — Kimball Health Service broke ground on their new $43.6 million hospital to replace the current 70-year-old building.

The new hospital will be 61,200 square feet located where the old West Elementary School is at 301 S Howard St. Kimball. This project is estimated to take 18 months and be finished in the Fall of 2023.

The project's financing was completed by two 40-year USDA loans totaling $34.2 million, Kimball County approved a general obligation revenue bond of $6.4 million, plus a capital fundraising campaign topped off the project by adding $2.2 million.

The State Director of USDA Rural Development Kate Bolz said she is thankful for the efforts of local citizens to make the new facility possible.

“Access to hospital care not only saves lives, it saves brain function, it saves mobility, and it saves quality of life,” Bolz said. “Especially in rural America, you all know that health care is essential not only to patients but also to the well-being and vitality of this community.”

Kimball County Commissioner Carl Stander called the groundbreaking an exciting time for residents of Kimball. 

“I believe it is the responsibility of elected officials to protect and maintain a quality of life for their citizens,” Stander said. “This new hospital project not only protects but greatly improves the quality of life for Kimball County and the surrounding area.”

The new hospital is triple the size of the current one and will feature larger inpatient rooms, private patient areas, wider corridors, as well as MRI and CT scanner services. It will also include space to provide services including; mammography, cardiac rehabilitation, chemotherapy infusions, orthopedic procedures, expanded surgical options, and a larger physical therapy option. The outside will include a covered ambulance bay and a helipad.

Chief Medical Officer at KHS Dr. Judd Dawson is thankful for all the new updates to the care center. During the last five years demands at the hospital have increased. Hospital discharges increased 24 percent, specialty clinic visits increased 65 percent, imaging services increased by 50 percent and surgeries increased from 16 in 2016 to 303 in 2019.

“When I am acting as a physician and trying to help in the community, if there’s something you need and I can’t give you, it breaks my heart,” Dawson said. “With opening this new facility we’re going to be able to fix a lot of that. It’s going to go a long way in letting us keep all of you here, next to your family while we provide care for you.”

 General Contractors Haselden Construction of Centennial CO. will begin construction June 1st. Director of Business Development for Haselden Erik Blanke said the team is excited to begin construction on this facility.

“By creating a new facility like this, people stop traveling for health care,” Blanke said. “It’s a facility people want to be at, it’ll be the center of Kimball for a long time.”

The Chairman of the KHS board of trustees and Chairman of the Capital Campaign to raise public support for the project Jim Cederburg said the hospital senior staff and the citizens of the community have worked hard to bring this idea to fruition. 

“I can imagine a time when one of us will be in the hospital as an inpatient and a grandchild will ask, ‘Did you find it or was it already there?’ You can say with confidence, ‘We put it there’ Cederburg said.