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Marshfield Clinic Health Systems Plans to Expand Its Minocqua Hospital

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DEAN S. ACHESON
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Marshfield Clinic Health Systems (MCHS) has unveiled plans to construct a major expansion of their Minocqua hospital, adding a dozen inpatient beds and costing upwards of $22 million.

The Minocqua plan commission Tuesday recommended approval of the Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua proposal as part of the conditional use permit (CUP) that MCHS needs to get a building permit issued by Oneida County.

As outlined by Dr. Michael Schaars, vice president of medical affairs at the Minocqua campus, the proposal calls for a 50,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the west side of the existing hospital off State Highway 70 West.

If MCHS obtains county and state permits in a timely manner, construction would start this fall, the Marshfield Clinic official said. Construction would take place over 12 months, with an additional three months needed to move in equipment, get it installed and tested.

It’s been 10 months since the health provider opened its Minocqua hospital. “We’ve been generally full,” said Schaars. At times, they have had to place patients in the emergency department and also transferred patients to facilities in other communities because of a lack of available rooms.

Since its opening, the hospital has treated nearly 1,000 patients, including the delivery of more than 150 babies, according to a press release from MCHS. The Minocqua campus offers about 25 specialties, including cancer care, neurology, cardiology, dermatology, pulmonology and urology.

The new hospital wing will include additional inpatient bed capacity, enhance emergency and urgent care, outpatient clinic, radiology space, outpatient rehab, ICU beds, conference rooms, family gathering space, physician calls rooms and hospital administration space.

The new wing will include 12-16 inpatient beds. With the existing 19 inpatient beds, including five maternity beds, there will be a total of 31 to 35 beds within the expanded hospital. Officials anticipate an additional 40-50 patient visits daily once the new wing is operating.

Between 30 and 70 additional employees would be added to the campus, which currently has 655 employees. The final project cost would fall between $18 million and $22 million.

Also proposed is a 2,800-square-foot detached ambulance garage on the northwest corner of the west parking lot. The design calls for three bays for ambulances. The ambulances will not be used for 911 calls with flashing lights and siren, but rather for transfer of patients to other facilities.

MCMS will expand the parking lots by 86 spaces for a total of 741. Staff and patients will use both Highway 70 West and Townline Road to the clinic and hospital, but the primary entrance will remain Highway 70, especially by delivery trucks.

In addition to town and county review, the project will require approval by the state Department of Health Services and by the state Department of Natural Resources for the stormwater management plan.

Schaars told commissions they sent out letters to about 50 neighboring property owners, explaining the proposed expansion and inviting them to a virtual information meeting where they could ask questions. He said five residents participated, with some questions but no major concerns.

The CUP request now goes to the May 4 town board meeting. Following that, it goes to the Oneida County planning and development committee, which will schedule a public hearing on the matter.

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