Site Development


Site Development is Key
for New Rock Rapids Hospital Project

Project Owner:
Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital

Key Experience:

  • Traffic flow considerations
  • Utility line coordination, planning and construction
  • Worked with utilities on booster station design and water main piping

Key Features:

  • Multiple use parking/entrance areas
  • Site design allows for maximum traffic exposure along highway
  • Site set back into hill, allowing suitable soils for building slab and parking lots

Early in 2016, Avera Health System, a regional health system based in Sioux Falls, SD, reached an agreement to lease operations of the hospital in Rock Rapids, IA and clinics in Rock Rapids and George, IA with Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) beginning in May of 2019 and lasting for 25 years. As part of the lease, MPCH constructed a new hospital and clinic campus in Rock Rapids.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2017 at the location of the new hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids. Construction began immediately and concluded in February, 2019.

DGR Engineering (DGR) contracted directly with MPCH and worked closely with the Owner’s Architect, BWBR of St. Paul, MN during the planning and design phase. Planning started with site plan design for the new facility to offer maximum exposure to traffic on Highway 75. The hospital building is set back into a hill so that the site grading produced ample suitable soils to construct the building slab and parking lots.

The front parking lot is reserved for patients and guests and employee parking is located behind the building. Parking lot grades are pedestrian-friendly while maintaining good surface drainage. Traffic flow of patient, delivery and emergency vehicles was a point of emphasis during the design process. The employee parking lot accommodates delivery truck turning maneuvers and direct routes to the emergency entrance. It was also designed to be easily navigated for emergency situations.

The new hospital required construction of utilities service lines. A water main loop surrounds the building to provide fire protection and water service from several directions. DGR assisted Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities with design of a booster station and water main piping to provide required fire flows and improve water system pressure and flows in the southwest corner of Rock Rapids.

Journey Construction Professionals of Sioux Falls was the construction manager for the project and was responsible for coordinating the various construction tasks for the project. The approximately $28.9 million Avera Merrill Pioneer Health Campus in Rock Rapids opened May 1, 2019.


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