SUTHERLAND—Construction is well underway on a new health-care clinic in downtown Sutherland.

The clinic will be located where the old Innes building stood at 131 W. Second St. before being demolished in December.

Sutherland residents Jim and Colleen Johnson bought the lot from the city in June for $1 and decided to have a new structure built to house a new clinic for the community. Work on the new building began later that month.

The Johnsons, who grew up in Hartley but have lived in Sutherland for nearly 50 years, said the community has been good to them throughout the years and they wanted a way to give back to it.

“God has blessed us, and we’re very, very thankful,” Jim said. “We believe in giving back.”

Sutherland’s current health-care clinic, MercyOne Sutherland Family Medicine, will move into the new building once it is completed next year. The exact completion date for the building still is up in the air, but the Johnsons are hoping it will be ready by January.

“We were supposed to get started earlier this year, and it didn’t materialize,” Jim said of the construction work. “The ground here wasn’t ready to be built on, and we had to dig the dirt out and have it repacked.”

Although the family clinic is located down the street from where the new clinic is being built, Jim said the clinic staff have long wanted a new space in which to work.

“The brand new office will be fabulous,” said Deb Prins, manager of the MercyOne Medical Center in Primghar who also oversees the Sutherland clinic.

“The building we’re in now is quite old, with a lot of maintenance issues. So we’re very excited to be in a new location.”

She said the new clinic will have about 1,900 square feet of space, compared to 1,500 square feet in the current building. The bigger space will include features the old location does not have, such as a break room and an X-ray room.

Prins did not know what the old building will be used for after the clinic moves but said MercyOne wants to support efforts to fill the space once it becomes vacant.

“We’re very appreciative to be on Main Street and to be afforded the opportunity to relocate to a new building,” Prins said. “It’ll be a nice enhancement for Main Street in Sutherland and a great asset to the community.”

Besides building a new health-care clinic, the Johnsons strive to support the community of about 600 people in other ways. For example, Colleen said they often encourage others to shop locally to support the Sutherland’s businesses.

“Do whatever you can in your own community to keep it going,” she said.

The construction work on the new clinic also is being done by businesses in and around the Sutherland area, such as Marv’s Construction, Hick’s Electric Services and Hustedt Landscaping.

“We didn’t really bid it out or anything we just said to the local contractors, ‘This is what we want, and we’d like to have you do it,’” Colleen said.

When the clinic is up and running, she said she hopes residents will keep seeing the doctors that work there.

“We have some very good doctors,” Colleen said. “We’re very fortunate to have doctors in our community and that we will have the services right here.”

This story was originally published in the Oct. 5 edition of The South O'Brien Sun.