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The Bowman office of West River Health Services has reopened after a June windstorm tore open the roof of the building and caused extensive damage to the interior.

According to Marilyn Noreen, the lab, X-Ray and co-manager for the branch, the decision to reopen was made about two weeks earlier once all the roof and interior repairs had been completed.

The staff that had been working in Bowman moved to the Scranton facility for eight months while the repairs were being made.

“We are back home,” she said, noting they reopened for business Jan. 25. “There had been a lot of damage to the floor, the ceiling and the electrical. There was water and wind damage. All the electrical, heating and air had to be replaced.”

There were upgrades made to systems as part of the repairs, she added. “When the roof was ripped off, it pulled the electrical, heating and air conditioners off the roof and everything was just wrecked.”

The shape of the roof was changed as part of the repairs. A pitched roof had replaced the flat roof, she explained.

But weather also played a continuous role in pushing back the repairs. “The roof had to be temporarily put on … then we had not had any rain forever – and then had two bad rain and windstorms again that took the temporary roof off. They had to fix that again until they could get the permanent one on.”

Between the weather, paperwork and the amount of damage, it took awhile to make the repairs, according to Noreen.

By August, the repair work could be restarted inside the building, she said.

For the patients returning to the building, there may be some noticeable changes, Noreen said. “The floor and ceiling are new, but the layout has not changed.”

The office now has a new X-Ray machine.

The facility had already gone all-electronic, which helped preserve the records and the patients’ information. “Everything was in the computer. We had gone all-electronic several years before... so we didn’t lose any of that.”

While the building reopened for business on Jan. 25, they were not fully scheduling their services and patients. “All services were available, but with a lighter schedule.

The office will be back up to a full schedule by the second week. “We were very busy yesterday (Jan. 25), probably busier than we wanted to be, but people wanted to get back.

“They were glad to have us back in Bowman. Many people said that,” he said.

Megan Oase is the other branch co-manager and a family nurse practitioner.

Roof shredded

The building had been damaged in a June storm which mixed strong wind and heavy rains literally tearing the roof off the West River Clinic and forcing repairmen to scramble to protect the roof of the building from a second afternoon thunderstorm a day later.

According to the National Weather Service Office in Bismarck that weekend the strongest measured wind gusts in the area occurred between Rhame and Bowman – hit 70 miles per hour Saturday. The office declined to state if the clinic building had been hit by a micro burst. A micro burst is a localized area of a severe downdraft of air, which can cause property damage.

During Saturday’s storm approximately two-thirds of the roof was damaged, with debris over the area, including a neighboring motel parking lot. Crews were called in to make temporary repairs.


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