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Cash finally in hand, work begins on new Edgerton Hospital

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
May 4, 2010
— At the future site of the Edgerton Hospital, dust from the bare ground blew past a large white party tent and rows of bright flowers set in the ground to symbolize the planting of “the seeds for our future” at a ground breaking for the new hospital Monday.

On a day as blustery as it was sunny, dozens of local dignitaries turned out at Highway 59 and Sherman Road, where the ground lay raked open in preparation for work at the planned 18-bed Edgerton Hospital. Work started on the site in late April.


The wind Monday blew hair into the mouths of a few keynote speakers. It knocked over and broke a few decorative potted plants sitting under the party tent. But it didn’t spoil the celebration.


For Edgerton Hospital and Heath Services, that’s just how things have gone in the past few years.


“If everything goes as planned, it’s not as rewarding,” hospital spokeswoman Tracey Pederson said. “It’s the challenges along the way that make this worthwhile.”


Although a waiting game for funding slowed the hospital’s plans for a new heath care facility a few times in the last five years, Pederson said for her Monday’s ceremony made the wait worth the payoff.


“I think along the way, people got a little impatient with the process and wondered if it would ever happen,” Pederson said. “But between the community’s support, funding for the project and our affiliation with SSM (Health Care), it’s becoming a reality. It’s actually becoming a reality.”


Funding was finalized for the project in early April. The financing, a Federal Housing Administration loan, will pay for most of the hospital’s $26 million price tag.


The rest of the funding needed for the project—$1.5 million, officials said Monday—will be raised in a fund campaign by the hospital’s capital foundation.


Edgerton Hospital, which shares a majority ownership with SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, parent of St. Mary’s Madison Hospital and the future St. Mary’s Janesville, is a critical access facility offering emergency and urgent care as well as rehab, diagnostic and patient and family services.


The new hospital, which officials said will include upgrades to cardiac, rehab and physical therapy, will have 18 beds. That’s scaled back from an original plan of 25 beds.


“When we did our market study, we looked at our needs and decided 18 beds was a good starting point,” hospital CEO Jim Pernau told the Gazette at the ground breaking.


Pernau said the new, 52,400 square foot hospital will be constructed so that any department could be expanded if the need arises.


Edgerton Mayor Chris Lund said the new hospital is “another step in Edgerton and the surrounding area moving forward.”


“Jobs are going to potentially be created with construction but also in the future with jobs through expanded services at the hospital,” he said.


Lund said it’ll be a positive for the local residents to get improved healthcare locally, so they don’t have to travel to Janesville or Madison.


With the wind dancing in his white hair, Dr. Ken Williams, a longtime local resident, spoke to the group at the ground breaking Monday.


He encapsulated the day in three words: “Hip-Hip Hooray.”



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