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Patrick Springer, Published May 01 2012

Dakota Medical expands

FARGO – Dakota Medical Foundation is building a $4.5 million conference and meeting center that will accommodate large “town hall” gatherings for health organizations and nonprofits.

The new center is under construction south of West Acres mall at the corner of 42nd Street and 28th Avenue South, with completion expected early next year.

The building will serve as an incubator for health solutions and to help nonprofits chart strategies and solve their problems, Pat Traynor, president of Dakota Medical Foundation said Tuesday.

The one-story building, encompassing 18,824 square feet, will include multiple conference rooms, a board room, and a large training center that can accommodate 200 participants “town hall” style.

The building also will include a kitchen-classroom equipped with a camera for healthy eating seminars that can be broadcast to other locations.

The kitchen will play a role in programs like the Healthy People Initiative, a collaboration in Cass and Clay counties to improve the metro area’s health profile through healthy eating and physical activity.

The meeting rooms will enable high-tech conferencing capabilities so workshops and webinars can be viewed at other locations.

Technology will allow wireless polling to survey conference participants’ opinions or to rank information.

The telecommunications capabilities will allow expert speakers’ talks to reach a broader audience in Dakota Medical Foundation’s service area in western Minnesota and North Dakota, Traynor said.

Dakota Medical Foundation will work with its partner nonprofits to help them raise money and perform strategic planning.

From 2007 to 2061, more than $308 billion of generational wealth will be transferred in North Dakota, with an estimated $95 billion given to charities, according to a study commissioned by Dakota Medical Foundation.

Through estate planning, the amount available to charities can increase, and donors’ estate tax liabilities can decrease, Traynor said. That could give nonprofits a big boost.

“We want to make sure the conversation is going on in western Minnesota and North Dakota,” Traynor said.

“Powerful thinking can come to bear on health issues of our regions when you have telecommunications capabilities to affordably bring experts and lecturers of national or world stature into dialogue with local groups,” Dr. Richard Vetter, Dakota Medical Foundation’s board chairman, said in a statement.

The building will house the offices of Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation and Alex Stern Foundation.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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