STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — In just about two weeks, South Dakota’s population is expected to more than double for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The city’s ambulance director says the department is preparing for as many as 1.2 million visitors. Just in time for the rally, the Sturgis Emergency Department has completed a 900,000 dollar facelift and expansion.
Crews with Sturgis Ambulance Services are preparing for a busy rally. Director Shawn Fischer says the new Emergency Department at the hospital couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We have seen an increase in calls already, our June was the biggest one month it’s been in the last four years,” Fischer said.
The renovations offer private rooms, a behavioral health safe room, and a new airflow system.
SYDNEY THORSON: “Compared to the old Emergency Department here in Sturgis, this new area is about 25 percent larger.”
Hospital president Mark Schulte says during the rally, the hospital sees a month’s worth of hospital traffic in just nine days.
“We built of such to handle that capacity. 51 weeks of the year we don’t have a rally going on so we wanted to make sure we have a space where the community feels welcomed, they feel comfortable in and gives us the ability to recruit world class providers to provide medical care in Sturgis,” Shulte said.
This is the emergency department’s first upgrade in about 30 years.
“I think for public safety it is huge, the more we can do here in Sturgis for our patients, for the injured, the sick, is huge. Now we have an emergency room that’s larger and everything so I think it’s great for all of us involved,” Fischer said.
The Greater Sturgis Lifecare Foundation contributed 150,000 dollars to the Sturgis Hospital. The Monument Health Foundation matched the contribution with a 150,000 dollar donation. Monument Health paid the remainder of the 900,000 dollar cost.