Bonner General Health receives grant for Emergency Dept. renovation

By Reader Staff

Bonner General Health announced it has received a $200,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation, which it will use to fund portions of an Emergency Department renovation planned for this fall.

The BGH Community Development Department began searching for grant opportunities after the renovation — originally slated to begin in October — was put on indefinite hold due to a reduction in revenue as a result of COVID-19. 

Like most health care organizations, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures of non-essential services, staff furloughs, layoffs and a 70% loss of revenue. According to hospital officials, the funds allocated for the remodel were no longer available, but the need was just as essential — if not more so after public health workers identified community spread of COVID-19 in the county. 

BHG’s grant application included letters of support from Bonner County EMS and Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Vince Huntsberger, expressing the urgent need for the remodel.

The BGH Emergency Department employs 26 staff members, services the communities of North Idaho and northwest Montana, and provided 10,447 emergency visits in 2019. Established in 1949 and housed in its current location since 1973, the Emergency Department has not undergone an update in 31 years. The renovation will include work stations for doctors and nurses, expansion of the paramedic entry way, patient room improvements, updated windows, flooring, lighting and ceiling tiles. 

Changes in the department will improve the patient flow and experience, protect the privacy of patients, and promote a safe and secure place to receive care.

“We are thankful to the Sunderland Foundation for selecting Bonner General Health as a recipient of this generous grant,” BGH CEO Sheryl Rickard stated in an announcement of the grant award. 

“A visit to the Emergency Department is generally unplanned and can be a frightening experience,” she added. “This grant will enable us to improve our patients’ experiences and increase our ability to respond to our community’s needs.” 

Established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as longtime president of the Ash Grove Cement Company and considered a nationwide industry leader, the Sunderland Foundation has since focused on supporting construction projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other markets traditionally served by the Ash Grove Cement Company. 

Grants are typically awarded for planning, design, construction, renovation, repairs and restoration in areas of higher education, human services, arts and culture, health care and hospitals.

Bonner General Health is a 25-bed critical access hospital and health care network of outpatient clinics and services, supporting Sandpoint and the surrounding region. For more information visit For more information on the Sunderland Foundation visit

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