By Roz Kohls
Meeker County Memorial Hospital is changing its name and logo. It will be Meeker Memorial Hospital from now on.
The hospital’s CEO, Mike Schramm, told the county board of commissioners Tuesday the name and logo change were part of a new marketing plan.
First, the new name is less of a mouthful than the original four-word name. Also, calling the 38-bed hospital a “county” hospital gave area residents the impression it is supported with county tax dollars. It’s not, he said.
In addition, the old name gave the impression the hospital is restricted to Meeker County residents. People from other counties, especially those in the Cokato area of Wright County, use the hospital because it is nearby, pointed out Commissioner Amy Wilde.
Finally, Hennepin County Medical Center serves a large indigent population. The hospital board didn’t want residents to think that because Meeker Memorial Hospital was a county hospital also, it primarily served indigent people, and not people from all walks of life, Schramm said.
“Our care has never been limited to residents of Meeker County. Our patient base has expanded over the years and we want everyone to know they’re welcome here,” Schramm said in a press release from the hospital’s marketing director, Lori Rice.
Also, the logo hasn’t been updated in 20 years, he said Tuesday. The lettering in “hospital” in the logo is much smaller than the other lettering, so it can easily be replaced with “clinic” or “fitness center,” and used for other facilities, he said.
Schramm also reported on the hospital’s $26 million expansion project. About 75,000 square feet will be added to the building at 612 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield. The project is “clipping along,” Schramm said.
Most of the exterior walls are up and blocking the view of the progress inside, but it is right on schedule, he said. The bricks will be delivered this week for the exterior, he added.
The expansion should be complete enough next summer that it can be used by hospital staff and patients, Commissioner Dave Gabrielson added.
The capital campaign, totaling $1.24 million, is almost at its goal of $1.25 million. Overall, the hospital is in good financial position, with a profit of $58,000 in June, up 3.5 percent, Schramm said.
Also, the hospital board is planning to move one of its houses on Ramsey Avenue to South Miller Avenue to free up land for 32 more parking spaces. The move and basement for the home, which the hospital will rent out, will cost $50,000. The new parking lot will cost $45,000, Schramm said.