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Shell Game: Regents to Buy Current Madison Hospital for DSU Computer Building

Another shell moves into place in the real estate game my eager Madison readers first brought to light in November 2011 and that Senator Russ Olson (R-8/Wentworth) confirmed at a candidate forum last fall. According to Bob Mercer, Board of Regents finance director Monte Kramer says that instead of building the new $10-million information systems center authorized by the Legislature in 2012 for Dakota State University, the plan is to buy the current Madison hospital building for $1.6 million and spend $8 million renovating it for information systems instruction and research.

Déjà vu, anyone?

Madison Community Hospital, 1920-1962; Dakota State College/University Heston Hall, 1970-present
Madison Community Hospital, 1920-1962; Dakota State College/University Heston Hall, 1970-present

Madison Community Hospital was built in 1920. In 1962, a new hospital was built in Madison and this building was left vacant. In 1966, the State of SD purchased this building. In 1970, the building was renovated and used for administrative offices and a computer data center. It was named Heston Hall after Dr. John W. Heston, the President of this college from 1905-1920 [Digital Library of South Dakota, "Madison Community Hospital building, now known as Heston Hall," downloaded 2013.06.20].

There's nothing wrong with the hospital and the Board of Regents continuing a tradition of cooperation to serve the community. Everybody's back gets scratched. Arguably, the Madison Community Hospital is cutting us taxpayers a nice deal: $1.6 million isn't anywhere near the over $30 million the hospital needs to replace its facility with new digs on the south side of town. Then again, we taxpayers could be doing the hospital a favor by taking off their hands a facility that might be hard to sell: after all, who else would be willing to pay millions of dollars for a health care facility in a one-hospital town?


  1. Kevin Weiland 2013.06.20

    Hate to date myself but I was born in the elevator of the old hospital (Now Heston Hall) before it was closed. 17 years later, I'm registering for college classes in the same building. I love the hospital campus as I was an orderly/EMT for three years after high school so I'm pleased to see the Board's purchase and renovation.

  2. Wayne Pauli 2013.06.20

    The purchase ties the North campus and the Main campus together nicely. It also adds parking and demonstrates a good relationship between two of the larger employers in town. Would I have liked a new construction? Absolutely, but this makes a lot of sense.

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