Media Release

Sanford Health Expands Sioux Falls Campus – Penetron Prescribes Permanent Concrete Protection


The expansion of the Sanford Van Demark Building in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (USA), was completed in May 2023, providing much needed healthcare capacity to the region. PENETRON ADMIX SB-treated concrete was specified to protect the below-grade concrete foundation from high groundwater levels and damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

With over 200,000 inhabitants, Sioux Falls is South Dakota’s largest city; its metro area comprises over 30% of the state’s total population. As a result, it is the center for entertainment, culture, food, and shopping in the state. Sanford Health is the largest rural health system in the United States with headquarters in Sioux Falls and 47 medical centers and 2,800 physicians across the Midwest. The healthcare network has now opened a new two-story addition to the Van Demark Building on the campus of the Sanford USD Medical Center.

The $20 million project comprises the construction of third and fourth floor additions (total: 36,550 ft2). The third floor includes the sports medicine department, with 20 exam rooms, two X-ray rooms and five cast rooms, with additional space for research trials, ortho-biologics, and a 3D printer. The fourth floor remains as shell space for future growth.

“The expanded Van Demark Building will complement the future Sanford Orthopedic Hospital nearby, now under construction and set to open in a few years,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group.

Knife River, the project’s ready-mix concrete supplier, added PENETRON ADMIX SB to a grout mix used in a secant pile wall application to secure the building’s below grade foundation from high groundwater levels and the South Dakota climate. Secant pile walls are formed by constructing intersecting reinforced, interlocking concrete piles to form a continuous foundation wall. They provide increased wall stiffness and more flexibility in certain construction alignments and sites.

“Usually, reliable waterproofing of secant piles can be difficult,” says Terry Coomes, Operations Manager at Knife River. “As an integral solution, PENETRON ADMIX SB provided the required level of concrete protection to ensure that the Sanford Van Demark building’s foundation is permanently waterproof.”

Knife River provided a 1,000 PSI and 4,000 PSI mix – in total about 2,000 yds3 of PENETRON ADMIX SB-treated concrete – used in specific areas of the below-grade secant pile walls. Placement was carried out through the South Dakota winter (!), adding another challenge to the project.

Better in a Cold Climate

Resistant to harsh winter temperatures and freeze-thaw cycle damage, the proprietary chemicals in PENETRON ADMIX SB-treated concrete react to moisture in a catalytic reaction to generate a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. The resulting crystal formation permanently seals micro-cracks, pores, and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction – making the concrete impermeable. This increases the lifespan of the concrete structure and reduces the amount of maintenance required in the future – a substantial advantage in South Dakota’s cold winters.

“The integral solution of PENETRON ADMIX SB-treated concrete meets the specific waterproofing requirements of a secant pile wall application – and is generally preferred over traditional membrane or surface applied applications,” adds Christopher Chen. “Finally, the Penetron solution helped cut any additional labor costs during construction.”