July 8, 2008

Meriter Plans to Add More Private Rooms By Moving Administrative Staff

By Marv Balousek, The Wisconsin State Journal

Jul. 8--Meriter Heath Services announced plans Monday to move up to 250 administrative employees by late next year to a new building at the Novation Campus along Rimrock Road south of the Beltline.

The move will allow the hospital to convert semi-private rooms to private rooms and to expand its operating rooms, said Fred McGee, Meriter's vice president of planning.

The $20 million, 110,000-square-foot building will be constructed by the Alexander Co., Novation Campus developer, and leased to Meriter. The four-story building, which will include underground parking, will be west of Rimrock Road on Novation Parkway.

Non-clinical administrative services to be housed in the building include information systems, finance, planning and marketing.

"We've really maxed out the footprint of the hospital," McGee said. "The functions we're taking out there don't have to interact with patients on a day-to-day basis."

Private patient rooms have become an industry standard, said Meriter spokeswoman Mae Knowles. She said they're better for patient privacy, infection control and patient satisfaction.

Knowles said about 70 percent of Meriter's medical-surgical beds are in private rooms, a much lower percentage than other Madison hospitals.

All patient beds at University Hospital are in private rooms, said hospital spokeswoman Toni Morrissey.

St. Mary's Hospital has seven semi-private, two-bed rooms, said hospital spokesman Steve Van Dinter. The hospital's recent expansion added 75 private rooms.

The Meriter administrative employees will be moved from the hospital on Park Street, McConnell Hall across the street, and from a Meriter-owned building along the Beltline near Todd Drive, McGee said.

The move also will allow other administrative employees to move from the hospital to McConnell Hall, 1010 Mound St. Meriter will continue to use the Beltline building for health services and offices, McGee said.

The Novation Campus was chosen from among four options for administrative offices. McGee said Meriter preferred a new building for its data center and the site was fairly close to the hospital.

Other tenants at the Novation Campus include Great Wolf Resorts, Great Wisconsin Credit Union, ITT Technical Institute and Zimbrick European, said Dan Peterson of the Alexander Co.

Matthew Meier, developer project manager for the Alexander Co., said the Meriter building will spur further development.

"It'll definitely be a catalyst we feel that will help attract retail-type tenants," he said. "It also gives us impetus to build additional streets and develop additional sites."

Earlier this year, Meriter announced a 10-year plan that would cost up to $170 million to erect four buildings and remodel other facilities at its Park Street location.


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