April 17, 2024

Clinic, lab expansion to get ‘dirty’

Expansion of the Greater Regional Health lab will relocate where the GRH board meets. The lab is one of the facility's construction projects.

Greater Regional Health’s project to expand the lab and clinic has faced a challenge right from the start.

The dirt in the area where the work will happen expands, too.

“The dirt for the lab and clinic is terrible,” said Greater Regional Health Chief Executive officer Monte Neitzel Monday during the board meeting. “A lot of dirt in Creston is terrible.”

Neitzel said he was told the existing dirt has a tendency to expand which is not ideal for building foundations and other infrastructure of construction. Neitzel said a similar problem happened during construction of the former hospice facility. The location for the expansion is part of the existing Medical Arts Plaza entrance. The work will eventually force the relocation of the board meeting room. A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in the summer.

To counteract the expansion, additional dirt needed to be purchased to improve conditions in the work area. Greater Regional acquired three bids and accepted one for $300,000. One bid was as much as $700,000.

The expansion is expected to be finished in April 2025.

In other GRH news...

Neitzel said Dr. Demi Eble will divide her time between Creston and the clinic under construction at Greenfield. The Greenfield clinic is expected to be finished early next year.

Neitzel said GRH is making an impact on the areas where it serves. According to research from the Iowa Hospital Association, it shows every county GRH has a clinic in, GRH has up to 30% of the market share.

“We are going to toot our horns about access, quality and choice. We are excited about that,” Neitzel said.

Neitzel gave credit to Chief Clinic Officer Carol Eckels for creating an excellent team. “We have great providers in our clinics. We want to continue to promote that.”

Neitzel said health care is in good shape in the area.

“The quality of health care in southwest Iowa has improved. It doesn’t hurt with a little competition in some of those areas,” he said.

Neitzel said GRH is open to sharing clinics with other providers.

“We always continue to ask to partner with anything. Nobody has taken us up on that offer. That’s fine. We’re good.”

The concrete for the parking lot for GRH’s new daycare has been completed. There are more than 100 children in the center. A ribbon cutting for the dacyare is tentatively scheduled in early November.

Board member Dave Driskell was not in attendance.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.