SIOUX FALLS (AP) – The rebuilding process has been complete at Avera Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls where a tornado struck the hospital complex last September.
Avera said all services at the center have now reopened.
One of three EF-2 tornadoes pummeled the hospital campus Sept. 10.
Nurse manager Natasha Sundet arrived at the center after the patients had been moved and said she hardly recognized the hospital and grounds.
“There are big chunks of metal hanging from the building; broken glass everywhere; tree limbs and trash; cars that have been picked up and moved with their windows blown out,” Sundet said in the aftermath. “When I walked into the building there was water pouring in through the ceiling. I have never seen anything like it.”
Dr. Matt Stanley remembers driving to Avera Behavioral Health the right after the tornado hit.
“You see, building material, you know, several blocks away,” said Stanley.
“Surprising that no one was hurt. And as we walked through the facility and look at that destruction, realize how many patients we had to move with just a few minutes of warning,” Stanley told KSFY-TV.
Staff had 10 minutes of warning to move 102 patients to safer areas.
While the care continued in undamaged parts of the building and elsewhere, construction crews made changes to the 108-bed center to create more open spaces.