Janesville46.2°

Progress, innovation on display during tour of Edgerton hospital

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
April 29, 2011
— The new Edgerton Hospital is a half-constructed beehive of bare concrete floors, open ceilings and drywalled rooms. Tools, material and workstations crowd the hallways, and it smells like drywall mud, mortar and sawed stone. Workers bustle everywhere.

Touring the partially finished $26-million facility, which is slated to open Oct. 1, you can see much of the building's guts—its maze of wires, ducts and vents.


Polymer and steel pipes in all sizes course overhead—some of them part of the building's 297-well geothermal heating system, the first of its kind for a facility the size of Edgerton Hospital.


Geothermal? Well, it's not your grandmother's hospital.


Officials say the facility also will have a heat-reflecting roof, surgery rooms wired for videoconferencing and patient rooms with individual climate control—plus a hikeable campus with prairie grasses and an organic garden.


Those are just some of the innovations at the soon-to-open facility at Highway 59 and Sherman Road on the city's east end.


"We are trying to create a culture of healthy living and wellness," said Edgerton Hospital Board Chairman Jim Schultz during a tour Thursday.


Partners Edgerton Hospital and Health Services and SSM Healthcare of Wisconsin say work is about 70 percent complete on the 52,000-square-foot 18-bed critical-access facility, which will include medical office space and an attached 10,000-square-foot Dean clinic.


Officials say the east side location near Lake Koshkonong will allow the hospital to better serve the area's tourist population, which swells to about 7,000 in the summer. It's also close to Interstate 90/39, which will allow it to function as a triage center for stabilizing victims of vehicle crashes on the Interstate.


Facilities Director Tom Freeman said the location ensures that an emergency helicopter can get from Madison to the hospital's own helipad in 10 minutes.


"That's the difference between life and death. For a small hospital to have those kinds of resources is just phenomenal," Freeman said.


The hospital will offer inpatient and outpatient care along with physical, occupational and speech therapy, cardiac rehab, acute care, swing bed care, surgery, wound care and emergency and urgent care.


The partnership between Edgerton Hospital and SSM Healthcare, which has facilities in Madison and is building the future St. Mary's Janesville Hospital, will give patients shared access to medical specialists without having to drive far, Schultz noted.


While work on the hospital unfolds, Freeman said crews will finish a few rooms ahead of others so hospital staff can test the rooms and make suggestions for changes. He said that staff has had a big hand in design throughout construction.


"They call that evidence-based design," Freeman said. "Why reinvent the wheel?"


The project is being paid for mostly through a Federal Housing Administration loan. Additional funding is being raised via a capital campaign through the hospital.


The effort has brought in $1.7 million toward a $3 million goal, which the hospital hopes to reach in 2013, said Fred Falk, the campaign's chairman.



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