Froedtert plans $117 million expansion

Facing significant capacity constraints in surgical, outpatient and inpatient care areas, Froedtert Hospital will move forward with plans to construct a new building and renovate existing space on its academic medical center campus in Wauwatosa.

“As eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin serve as a referral nucleus for medicine’s most highly specialized services. Steady growth in demand for services on our campus has pushed us to capacity in several areas,” said Cathy Buck, president of Froedtert Hospital. “Because of our high degree of specialization, more than 6,000 patients requiring an advanced level of care were transferred to Froedtert from other facilities last year. This was a 27 percent increase over 2010.”
The proposed site for the 480,000-square-foot building, which will include underground parking, is on Doyne Avenue immediately west of Froedtert & The Medical College Cancer Center. The complete project cost, including equipment and furnishings, is approximately $117 million and will be financed by the proceeds of an upcoming bond issue.
“We have outgrown our existing surgical and interventional procedure environments and need space to accommodate current and anticipated growth as well as changes in medical technology,” said Gary Seabrook, M.D., senior director of surgical services for Froedtert & The Medical College. “We’ve moved more than 800 cases over the past year to an outpatient surgery center on our campus and plan to move an additional 1,000 in the coming year, yet we will still be at operating room capacity within the hospital.”
From 2001 to 2011, the number of surgeries at Froedtert Hospital increased by 72 percent, with more than 18,000 surgeries performed in 2011.
“As a health system, we seek to be most cost-effective by providing the right care at the right place at the right time,” said Cathy Jacobson, president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Health. “We have 32 clinics across a three-county area and offer Medical College specialists at many of them.  Froedtert & The Medical College recently opened a large multi-specialty clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend, and broke ground on a multi-specialty outpatient medical facility in New Berlin. This is part of an effort to respond to demand by making our services available in convenient community locations. However, we still face serious capacity constraints in key services at the academic medical center.”
The new building will house Froedtert & The Medical College Heart and Vascular Center, which has seen a 60 percent increase in outpatient volume since 2003 yet occupies cramped, inefficient space designed by Milwaukee County Hospital in the 1980s.
Froedtert & The Medical College Transplant Center also will be housed in the new building.
Building design will allow for the option to add inpatient floors if needed in the future.
Among the approvals required for construction is permission from the Wisconsin State Historical Society. A portion of the planned building site includes an existing, unmarked cemetery used by Milwaukee County during the early 1900s. Froedtert Hospital is working with the agency and has filed the necessary documents to request approval to remove the burials.
“After extensively reviewing our building options, we determined that this site provides the best and perhaps the only real location for the future construction development needed by the hospital,” said Buck. “We are aware of the sensitivities involved and will move forward with the utmost respect for the dignity of those buried here.”
If approved, construction would begin before year-end with a target completion date in 2014.

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