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Work has officially begun on 58 acres in northern Bozeman that will be the home of the new Billings Clinic Bozeman.

“As this community grows, we know that more and more care is needed,” said Dr. Sam Sillitti, a Billings Clinic Bozeman OB/GYN, at a press conference celebrating the beginning of work. “We’ve got a long way to go yet, but we’re getting closer and closer and we’re very excited about that.”

The first step for construction will be to prep the land for the foundation, which is expected to take a few weeks.

Once construction begins in earnest with general contractor Martel Construction, Billings Clinic Foundation President Jim Duncan said it will take about 18 months to wrap up the first phase of of the clinic.

“The earth that’s being moved today will lay the groundwork for the foundation and, hopefully, get us into the ground before winter sets in so that we can keep working through the winter and complete this project sooner,” Duncan said. “And there are multiple additional phases that will come over the years ahead.”

Duncan said the entire project will cost between $40 million and $45 million.

The first part of the new clinic is expected to open to patients in late spring or early summer 2022. It will employ 260 people and include an urgent care, a one-story surgery center, a laboratory, a radiology department, a pharmacy and outreach services for medical specialities.

The main three-story building will also be the new home for the Billings Clinic Bozeman OB/GYN and the Billings Clinic Bozeman Pediatrics, which have operated in Bozeman for over 13 years.

Billings Clinic first bought the land in January 2016 and announced its plans to open the new clinic, surgery center and ambulance hub in November 2018.

The land where the new Billings Clinic will be used to be home to a big red barn. Duncan said his team wanted to find some way to incorporate the barn into the clinic, but realized that wasn’t going to work.

Instead, Martel Construction deconstructed the barn and Billings Clinic donated it to Heroes and Horses, a nonprofit that helps combat veterans readjust to civilian life.

“We’re really thankful for this partnership,” said Heroes and Horses CEO Micah Fink. “We’re in the midst of a capital campaign, and our plan is to repurpose that (barn) to help us build a riding arena, which we plan to have construction done by next year.”

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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