Mayo to add 121 new hospital beds in Mankato

Feb. 22—MANKATO — Mayo Clinic Health System announced Tuesday that a three-floor, 121-bed expansion of its Mankato hospital has been approved, with construction to be completed in early 2024.

The hospital beds come with new intensive and progressive care units, a new medical-surgical unit and a new family birth center, according to a news release. The three floors will be built atop an existing two-story building on campus. Construction will begin in March or April.

The Mankato expansion will cost roughly $155 million, said Travis Paul, regional chair of administration for MCHS Southwest Minnesota.

"This project will bring tremendous benefit to patients, our hardworking and dedicated staff, and the communities we serve," said James Hebl, MCHS regional vice president of the Southwest Minnesota region. "The hospital expansion will enable Mayo Clinic to achieve its vision of transforming community health care over the next decade."

Hospital capacity will increase by 59% over the next decade, Hebl said during a Tuesday news conference.

MCHS Mankato now has 151 beds. The hospital expects to have about 240 beds when the expansion is finished, a figure that accounts for about two dozen older beds that will be phased out. Older rooms that remain in use will all be renovated, Paul said.

Hebl said the timely expansion seeks to meet rising local demand for health care and to reduce the number of patient transfers to other Minnesota hospitals.

Over the past two years, COVID-19 patients have caused a spike in the need for care and strained the hospital's ability to care for people with other ailments. Hebl said MCHS hospitals "continue to be full each and every day."

"We have seen more and more patient transfers over this pandemic period of time," Hebl said. "That's not surprising — I think all hospitals across the state and across the country have seen more and more hospital transfers simply because their beds are full."

The provider's vision to improve community care rests upon technological advances expected in the Mankato hospital over the next decade, the release says. Increased use of telehealth, digital technology and artificial intelligence should enable medical staff to improve patient outcomes.

Plans also include 100% private patient rooms that are nearly twice as large as current units, said Lisa McConnell, chief nursing officer for MCHS of Southwest Minnesota. Bathrooms will be updated to meet ADA requirements and reduce fall risk.

The expansion entails an increase in the number of nurses and hospital workers at the Mankato facility, McConnell said. A primary goal is to improve job satisfaction and retention among frontline staff.

"We're seeing an all-time high patient demand, which is much higher than it was pre-pandemic. ... Like other hospitals, we continue to be challenged with recruitment," she said.

Several amenities are planned to "enhance joy at work," McConnell said. They include bolstered support spaces and improved line of sight to patients from decentralized work stations, which along with video feeds in rooms will allow nurses to continually monitor from afar. Nurse leader teams will share units with frontline staff in order to offer help.

MCHS also plans to build a new 70-bed hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by early 2024. The two projects are a combined $353 million investment.

The original Mankato facility, Immanuel St. Joseph Hospital, was built in 1951, Hebl said. Internal renovations have occurred since then, but the building's infrastructure is still over 70 years old.

"The Mankato hospital practice, as well as our community, has been talking about a bed-tower addition for quite some time," he said.

Mayo also on Tuesday announced an expansion in Jacksonville, Florida, that includes building five new floors atop the existing hospital tower, resulting in 121 new inpatient beds.

All three projects are part of Mayo's "Bold. Forward." strategic plan to transform health care over the next decade.

A video rendering of the Mankato expansion can be viewed at