By Mary Struck, The Kohler Villager
Plans for a new state-of-the-art medical center and office buildings to be built on a parcel of land owned by Kohler Co. have been finalized with the Village Board’s approval of the Development Agreement, the Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement, and rezoning of the parcel from residential/commercial to Planned Commercial District. The new medical center will replace Aurora’s current nearly century-old hospital on 7th Street in Sheboygan.
Construction will be carried out by Mortenson Construction, which specializes in green/sustainable projects. The site will be located on a 56-acre parcel north of Union Avenue and west of South Taylor Drive. The facility includes a 345,000 square foot medical center with 119 beds, and a 115,000 square foot medical office building with three patient service levels and a garden level for conference and cafeteria services.
The design is intended to make the most of the natural surroundings. The the hospital building will be nestled into a hill andsurrounded by landscaping that will provide a calming, healing atmosphere for patients. An outdoor healing garden will provide a respite for patients’ family members as well as for staff.
At a public hearing held during the Village Plan Commission’s regular meeting on May 9, representatives from Aurora, as well as GRAEF and Mortenson presented the current site plan and provided details about the site analysis.
Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center President Dave Graeber said that a few minor details are still being finalized, but the array of medical services at the new facilities will be greatly enhanced, providing a full spectrum of health services including women and children’s health, cardiovascular health, sports health, a large surgery platform, comprehensive wellness services, and a behavioral health program. Expanded services and medical office buildings will allow residents to receive more convenient care and follow-up appointments closer to home. “We are excited to continue working with the Village of Kohler in bringing a new state-of-the-art facility to the Sheboygan region,” said Graeber. “The approval of our site plans is an important step forward in our efforts to deliver high-quality care close to home in Sheboygan County.”
Nick Burris from HGA Architects and Engineers detailed the environmental analysis done for the property, which included a search for endangered species (none were found). An analysis of 1,875 trees lead to 19 species being identified.
The original 2017 site plan has been updated to include more of the existing forest, and about 250 trees will be replanted on the site. The entire site, including portions of the parking lot medians, will be heavily landscaped with prairie grass and other native species of decorative plants. There will be a pond for storm water management and parking lot lights with zero lot line coverage, which keeps the light within the boundaries of the complex, preventing spillover onto neighboring properties. The heliport will be located such that the aircraft will mostly take off toward I-43, limiting the impact on the forested and residential areas.
Jeff Maples from Mortenson Construction and Steven Fisco from Graef outlined minor improvements that will be done to Taylor Drive and Union Avenue to accommodate traffic to and from the medical center. The Taylor/Union intersection will be improved, with new stoplights installed. Dedicated turn lanes onto Union for access into the new complex will be added. Union Avenue will be widened and repaved from the new complex to the east just past Georgia Avenue.
Construction of the Aurora complex is expected to begin in June 2019 and be completed by the fourth quarter of 2021. The move from the existing hospital is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2022.
City of Sheboygan contracted to provide law enforcement services for medical center
Per the Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement between the Village of Kohler and the City of Sheboygan, Town of Sheboygan, and Sheboygan County, law enforcement services at the medical complex will be provided by the City of Sheboygan Police Department on a contract basis with the Village of Kohler. The City of Sheboygan currently provides law enforcement services to the Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center, and is experienced in responding to situations that often arise at medical centers, including mental health crises. Initial cost to the Village will be $250,000 per year, with possible adjustments annually. Without this agreement, the Village would have needed to hire seven additional officers at a cost of approximately $100,000 per officer, plus other operational costs and expenses. The Kohler Police Department is responsible for patrols and calls to the construction site effective immediately until completion of the project.