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Medical projects could denote construction is off life support

By Ann Knoedler

Last week, news crossed my desk of three large medical facility projects in various stages of development. Two of them are still in the pre-construction/planning stage and one is out for bids. One is privately owned, one is a county-operated facility, and one is federally owned — with the future of the county project looking somewhat less certain than the other two.

On March 18, the executive director of Langlade Hospital in Antigo announced they will be building a new 90,000-square-foot hospital on the existing 25-bed hospital campus starting this fall: cost estimate approximately $43 million.

Eppstein Uhen Architects is designing the project and Miron Construction Co., Neenah, will build it. The existing 25-bed facility is 77 years old, outdated and will be torn down once the new facility is up and running.

The hospital is owned and operated by Aspirus of Wausau and an order of Catholic Sisters by the name of Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph in Canada.

On March 17, after four years of study and discussion, the Dunn County Board of Supervisors, Menomonie, voted to take one more step in the approval process toward building a new Dunn County Health Care Center and remodeling of the existing care center into new county government offices: cost estimate approximately $33 million.

They authorized spending $600,000 to hire Hoffman LLC, Appleton, to design the project and The Samuels Group, Wausau, to build it. This project is on somewhat shaky ground since the board’s decision to spend money is subject to voter scrutiny.

The county has been in the business of providing medical care to county residents for more than 100 years, but not everyone feels they should continue to do so. The vote to authorize full funding for the project is likely several months down the road.

Meanwhile, there’s an election April 6 — some of the board members in favor could possibly be replaced by those opposed. We’ll see what happens.

On April 8, bids are due for a three-level, 126,000-square-foot addition and major renovations to Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center in Lake Geneva. This project was designed by Ellerbe Becket Inc. of Minneapolis.

I was surprised to find out that the existing hospital has just six beds. When construction is completed it will have 25 beds.

I was also surprised to find out that this is a federally owned facility, but I’m not sure I know what that means. Mercy has always bid their jobs privately (which is why I thought they were privately owned), and like most private jobs that go out for bids, only a select few general contractors are allowed to compete; but opportunities abound for subcontractors and suppliers. I don’t have the cost estimate for this one.

I mention these projects because maybe, just maybe, it provides a glimmer of hope for an upswing in construction.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at (414) 225-1822.

One comment

  1. “I mention these projects because maybe, just maybe, it provides a glimmer of hope for an upswing in construction.”

    We can only hope!!!

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