The University of North Dakota's Medical Center Rehabilitation Hospital (MCRH), also referred to as the Medical Center Rehabilitation Unit, opened January 25, 1958. The Hospital was located in McCannel Hall, named in honor of Dr. Archie McCannel of Minot, North Dakota. Prior to the construction of McCannel Hall, the rehabilitation unit operated out of an office in the pathology department of the University's medical school.
During its first year of operation, a lack of housing for patients traveling from areas outside of Grand Forks became apparent. The Rehabilitation Unit also faced problems with providing meals for its patients. The Student Union provided an option that did not require further transportation, but the Union's facilities were not equipped for the handicapped at that time, and the stairs were an obstacle for many patients attending the MCRH.
In 1960, the North Dakota State Health Council approved a plan to erect an additional two floors on top of the one-story McCannel Hall, hoping to alleviate some of the problems that the Rehabilitation Hospital was having in its current form. The addition would also allow the MCRH to start admitting inpatients by providing enough space to set up overnight facilities. Construction began in 1961, and was completed in 1962.
The MCRH continued to expand its scope over the next several years, shifting its emphasis from vocational rehabilitation towards a more comprehensive "total rehabilitation" concept, including physical restoration, social adjustment, and vocational adjustment. Patient numbers also continued to increase steadily, and by 1966 discussions about expanding the McCannel Hall facility were underway.
In 1968, the Medical Center Rehabilitation Unit was granted accreditation by CARF (the Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), one of only three facilities in the United States to receive maximum accreditation during that year. Talks about the expansion of facilities continued, and in 1971 the state legislature approved the Hospital to proceed with the planning of a new rehabilitation facility, providing that no state funds were used towards its construction. The 135,000-square foot building was completed in 1974, and located in the new Medical Park Complex off UND's campus. The Medical Park Complex was an attempt to lower heath care costs by placing a variety of health resources, including a hospital, clinics, and rehabilitation facilities, all in one place. The Rehab, as it was then being called, was the first building to be a part of this new series of facilities in Grand Forks. The Rehab operated as a self- supporting, non-profit, fee-for-service facility, receiving no appropriated general funds from the state of North Dakota. The new building, located at the southwest corner of Columbia Road and Eleventh Avenue South, was dedicated on May 24, 1974.
The Medical Center Rehabilitation Unit Records (1958-1990) have been divided into five series:
Series 1: General Information
Series 2: Program Evaluation
Series 3: Marketing and Planning
Series 4: Memoranda and Correspondence
Series 5: Published Materials