New Franklin hospital will be ‘green’

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare plans to open the doors of its new $89.6 million hospital in Franklin on Monday, April 28. The five-story, 275,000-square-foot building was constructed on a 55-acre site at South 27th Street and Oakwood Road. The hospital is focused primarily on outpatient care.

Wheaton Franciscan built the new hospital, in part, to serve the growing southern portion of the metro Milwaukee area.

“The new medical center will save people’s lives. For someone who is having an emergency or has a medical condition, there is nothing like this in Milwaukee County south of Morgan Avenue,” said Doug Wheaton, director of city development for Franklin. “There is a large growth in population here and there is really a need for this, it is easy to see why they chose this location.”

The hospital is just one of three major developments under construction along South 27th Street in Franklin. The others are the expansion of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s Franklin campus and the new Staybridge Suites hotel.

“The development of the business corridor along 27th Street as well as the increase in population in the area made this an ideal location for the new hospital,” said Roger Rhodes, vice president of operations at the hospital. “It becomes a matter of convenience for the people of Franklin and Oak Creek.”

Construction of the hospital began in June of 2006. Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt Inc. was the general contractor for the project, and Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Inc. was the architect. CG Schmidt has worked on several hospital projects, including the Wisconsin Heart Hospital, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The Franklin hospital was built according to the Green Guide for Hospital Construction, Rhodes said.

“One of the first things is that we have disturbed the natural landscape there as little as possible,” he said. “The natural wetlands that were there have been left undisturbed, there are some natural tree lines that have been there for a very long time and we have left those undisturbed as well.”

The stone for the building was quarried from Wisconsin, and the hospital structure includes energy-efficient motion and LED lights, as well as low-flow water faucets and waterless plumbing fixtures, Rhodes said.

Health care facility construction is becoming more difficult because of the need to keep the building as sterile and germ-free as possible, said CG Schmidt executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Abuls.

“We really couldn’t start any drywall work until the building was weather tight,” he said. “We couldn’t have anything getting wet and creating a situation for mold growth inside the building.”

The finished walls of the hospital are lined with scripture picked out by Sister Jane Madejcyzk, and the foyer to the facility features a 24 panel display of stain glass window pieces taken from the chapel of St. Michael Hospital of Milwaukee which was closed in May of 2006.

The new facility has an 18-room emergency department, a surgery center, full-service imaging, primary care and specialist physician offices, a physical therapy center, walk-in care, cardiac rehabilitation, a sleep lab and headache center, plus a dining area, gift shop and a conference center available to the community.

The walk-in clinic is on the fourth floor. Physician offices are on the third and fourth floors. The hospital has 23 pre- and post-operation surgery beds, and 10 to 16 of those are available for overnight stays. The average length of stay for patients at the hospital, which is focused on outpatient care, is expected to be 12 hours. Some will require stays of about 72 hours.

The hospital was built so it can be expanded in the future, which could make the building even taller, Abuls said.

“There is space on the third floor for additional patient rooms, but they are not constructed at this time,” he said. “The vertical expansion capabilities will allow for two additional levels to be constructed on top of the existing building, but the timing for that is not planned out right now.”

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