Janesville83.5°

Hospital funding comes through

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Stacy Vogel
December 18, 2009
— After months of waiting, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services has received the financing it needed for a new facility and hopes to break ground in January, it announced Thursday.

"It's a good Christmas present," said Tracey Pederson, hospital spokeswoman.


The hospital announced plans in 2005 to build a new facility to replace the aging building at 313 Stoughton Road. In 2006, it bought 70 acres of land at Highway 59 and Sherman Road.


Since then, the hospital and its foundation have worked to come up with the $26 million needed for the 56,000-square-foot, 25-bed hospital. It applied for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's health care mortgage insurance program, which guarantees loans for critical-access hospitals.


The hospital had hoped to hear about its application by Sept. 30 and break ground in October, but HUD dragged its feet, Pederson said.


"We were always told, 'Two more weeks, two more weeks,'" she said. "Finally we got the call, so while we were expecting it, it was still kind of shocking."


The hospital and its construction manager, Gilbane Building Company, are ready to start excavation work soon, Pederson said.


"We were very fortunate in that the snow kind of insulated the ground prior to the ground freezing," she said.


Ground breaking will move the hospital foundation into a new chapter for its fundraising, Chairman Jim Schultz said. The foundation so far has raised $1.6 million in pledges and donations and hopes to raise a total of $3.1 million.


Schultz believes more people will be willing to donate once they see the project becoming a reality, he said.


"Knowing the project's going forward, hopefully they'll come on board, help support it," he said.


The foundation plans to be more proactive with its fundraising.


"We'll be asking people to help with the project, whereas before it was a matter of people volunteering and stepping forward," Schultz said.


The hospital expects construction to be completed in spring 2011.


Hospital officials hope the site will hold more than just a hospital building, CEO Jim Pernau has said. He has described the campus as a "healthy village" that could eventually host other health and wellness facilities.


The hospital will have geothermal heating, and officials have considered other environmentally friendly elements such as organic food and roof gardens.


An independent company will build a 10,000-square-foot medical office building adjacent to the hospital, Pernau said in August. SSM Health Care, owner of the Dean Edgerton Clinic, will be the primary renter.


Edgerton Hospital and SSM announced a limited affiliation last year.


Original plans for the hospital campus included a new building for the Edgerton Care Center, the nursing home located at the existing hospital.


But the care center and hospital officially separated in 2008, and the care center is exploring other locations for a new facility, Administrator Marilynn Perry said last week.


The nursing home had planned to rent land on the new campus from the hospital and finance a building through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the USDA found the lease agreement offered by the hospital unacceptable, Perry said.



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