Release Date: July 15, 2009

Appleton, Wis.-based medical center operator celebrates $34 million site

Appleton Post Crescent

When someone has access to helicopters, hundreds of potential volunteers and more than 1,100 feet of rolled red plastic material, there has to be a way to use it all creatively. Megan Wilcox thought so. The public relations specialist for Appleton-based ThedaCare, operators of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, helped organize a massive promotional event to mark Friday's unveiling of Encircle Health, the official name of the new $34 million site ThedaCare is building with private physicians. "We wanted to do something fun, different," Wilcox said. The event lured about 350 volunteers from ThedaCare as well as some workers from Boldt Co., which is building the site, and representatives from the private physicians groups. The volunteers circled the building, while holding up a more than 1,000-foot red plastic strip. Circling above was a ThedaStar helicopter, which was taking photos and video, which eventually will be available on ThedaCare's Web site, The Encircle name reflects the full array of outpatient services that will be available once the site opens in October. Besides medical services, Morton Pharmacy also will have a location onsite. Dr. David Anderla, who is with ThedaCare Physicians-North Appleton, will serve as medical director of Encircle Health. "We're trying to gather excitement and this event was a way for us to get energized," he said. Cost to put on the event was minimal as ThedaStar's time was donated as well as the red plastic ribbon. Trent Jezwinski, director of health care construction for Boldt Co., said Friday the building is about 80 percent completed. It also is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified through the U.S. Green Building Council. Some of the building's features include solar panels for heating water, use of recycled building materials and some landscaping, which will require no irrigation. "The building also can use sunlight to help heat it in the winter," Jezwinski said. Special shading built into the site also will aid in cooling during warmer weather months. AT A GLANCE: --What: Encircle Health --Facility: Northeast Business Park, Appleton; 156,000 square-foot, three-story, $34 million building --What it is: A partnership with ThedaCare and private physician practices. The site will house an assortment of outpatient services --Employees: About 300 people between ThedaCare operations and private practices --Scheduled opening date: Oct. 17 (construction began in September 2008)