Release Date: September 15, 2010

St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton slowly reveals its rejuvenated look

The Post-Crescent

If certain halls at St. Elizabeth Hospital weren't clearly marked, someone passing by a closed door might not realize renovations are taking place.


Affinity Health System, owner of St. Elizabeth Hospital, and Boldt Construction Co., the company performing the updating, have taken steps to ensure activity surrounding the three-year, $65 million renovation and expansion, don't interfere with daily operations.


"We're worked very hard to make sure there are no disruptions," said Gary Kusnierz, vice president of performance excellence for Affinity.


Kusnierz said a team involved with the project meets each Monday to discuss construction activity for the week.


"We go through every nook and cranny to make sure all the proper planning is in place so we don't disrupt any of the clinical exam areas," he said.


Kusnierz said the current phase of the project is on schedule.


This is good news to Travis Andersen, president of St. Elizabeth Hospital.


"Everything is right on plan and I'm happy where things are at with the time line," Andersen said. "The campus disruption has been minimal ... everyone has done a great job to not impact our current patients."
Maintaining safe conditions for employees and patients is a priority, Kusnierz said.


"We have to maintain life safety codes, make sure we have adequate fire protection and that all egress points are known and marked," he said.


Any changes to traffic flow or construction work on campus is relayed to the hospital staff.


The heavier-than-normal summer rain did impact the hospital's construction schedule, Kusnierz said.
"It did slip about four days but we have since gained it back," he said.


The surrounding neighborhood also is kept up to date, Kusnierz said. The hospital recently invited residents who live near St. Elizabeth in for a project update.


Though few attended the session, Kusnierz said Affinity wants to keep residents informed.


Andersen said a majority of the construction work is taking place during normal business hours, though there are times when crews are in at night or on weekends.


"Patients still are at the center of the decision making process," he said. "We will do everything we can to minimize disruption as we're building for tomorrow."


Project update
Construction began in the spring. As the rehabilitation progresses, the hospital's overall appearance will begin to more closely resemble that of the main entrance and atrium, which was completed in 2006.
The first major project involved relocating the occupational therapy, physical therapy and rehabilitation services to the former Furnishings by Ludwig building in Buchanan at N496 Milky Way. That site opened in June.


The space inside the hospital that once housed those services is being remolded into the expanded emergency department.


Kusnierz said work on the new emergency department should be finished by next September. Work on the new emergency department entrance, which will face Oneida Street, should start in November with the demolition of some existing buildings.


What's being worked on outside now is the hospital's new physical plant, which will house heating and cooling systems as well as generators. This phase should be finished by November.


Kusnierz said the hospital expects updated equipment installed in the physical plant will provide about $500,000 in annual energy savings.


A loading dock now visible from Oneida Street is being moved and when completed will be on a lower grade and less visible from the street to help with aesthetics.


Within the next two months, updating to the cancer center will begin. Once finished, a noticeable change will be the glass concourse in front of the building facing South Madison Street as well as its green roof, which will be visible to cancer patients undergoing treatment.


Updating to the cancer center should be finished by the summer.


Work on the breast center will start in the fall and should be finished by summer, Kusnierz said. The space will feature a look uniform to the other updating happening around the hospital.
In the spring, workers will turn their attention to women and family center.