To significantly upgrade the blood donation experience, the American Red Cross has begun a major $2 million renovation of its current building at 100 S. Robert St. in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The project will consolidate and reduce underutilized space at the adjacent Red Cross building at 176 S. Robert St., also in St. Paul, that currently houses the blood donation center and office space.
This substantial investment in Saint Paul, scheduled to be completed in February 2021, will create an upgraded blood donation center and provide much needed updates and renovations to other areas of the building.
“Every year we depend on thousands of donors who use this facility to donate an average of 18,700 platelet and 7,400 whole blood units,” said Bob Bruce, regional donor services executive with the Red Cross Minnesota and Dakotas Region. “Investing in the 100 S. Robert St. facility with a blood donation center will provide the community a welcoming space to donate. The need for blood is constant and critical, and the hospitals and patients we serve in our community and across the country rely on the Red Cross to meet this vital need.”
The renovation project will include a new 8,000 square foot blood donation center with 12 whole blood donor beds, 15 apheresis donor beds (used for platelet and plasma donations), two leukapheresis donor beds (used for white blood cell donations) and ten health history rooms. The apheresis donor room, where platelets are collected, will house the most apheresis machines of any of the more than 170 Red Cross donation centers in the nation.
While the building may look like a modest-sized office building from the outside, the Red Cross Saint Paul facility on Fillmore Street is also home to the third largest of 24 Red Cross manufacturing and distribution centers for blood products in the country. It annually processes more than 686,000 units of lifesaving blood products, which are then transported to more than 100 hospitals in the Minnesota-Dakotas Region (Minnesota, eastern South and North Dakota and western Wisconsin) and to about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. More than 300 Red Cross Blood Services staff are headquartered out of the Saint Paul location.
After blood and blood products are collected at Red Cross blood donation centers and from community blood drives across the Minnesota and Dakotas Region, the donations are transported to the Saint Paul facility. Under strict quality guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), blood product samples are sent out for testing before blood products are processed by staff at the Saint Paul facility and delivered to patients in hospitals, cancer centers and clinics across the Midwest and the nation.
In addition to the new blood donation center, renovated workspaces will allow Red Cross team members to more effectively and efficiently engage new blood donors and provide modern training areas for both staff and volunteers in Blood Services from around the region.
Currently, the Red Cross is conducting a naming rights donation campaign for the renovation project. Donations will be recognized by naming various areas of the building to honor donor organizations and individuals.
An anonymous supporter has already made a lead gift of $750,000.
“Of course, I want to inspire others to give, and give generously, to this campaign,” said the donor. “The core of my motivation, however, comes from this: As a cancer patient, blood products helped me to successfully battle the disease. During my treatment, because I was familiar with the Red Cross, I was able to allay my concerns about at least one thing – I knew the blood I was receiving was safe. I want that to be available to anyone facing medical treatments. I’m grateful, also, to the people who rolled up a sleeve for me – and I want blood donors in our community to have a nice, comfortable place to donate.”
Money raised by the campaign will be invested in Red Cross Blood Services and help fund initiatives, such as COVID-19 antibody testing, blood testing and research and diversification of our nation’s blood supply.
The Ecolab Foundation and other individuals and organizations have also made significant contributions.
“Ecolab applauds the Red Cross for making substantial investments in our community,” said Kris Taylor, vice president, global community relations and Ecolab Foundation. “We are proud to support the renovation of the Saint Paul biomedical facility that will build upon the organization’s lifesaving work and ultimately contribute to significant advancements in blood product collections and efficiencies in our region.”
The Red Cross building at 176 S. Robert St. will be up for sale when the renovation is completed.
“We need to be good stewards of our resources and donor dollars,” said Bruce. “This project will help us accomplish that and provide a better space for the community to donate blood.”
About Blood Donation
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, use the Blood Donor App or follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass.
Click here for additional information and details regarding the Red Cross Saint Paul renovation project.
Click here to view the St. Paul Pioneer Press article about the renovation published on October 20, 2020.