Marquette General plans for new hospital

Duke LifePoint, the owners of Marquette General, started discussions six months or so ago about renovating and expanding the hospital. It would have cost about $230 million.

In July, Duke LifePoint decided to build a brand-new hospital instead, costing $290 million. Hospital officials announced the construction plan Thursday morning.

Marquette General CEO Gary Muller says renovation and expansion would have been like renovating a 70-year-old house. “If you do that, you can make it nice and it would be good, but it’ll never be as efficient from a utilities or from a patient standpoint, so LifePoint decided that the tradeoff between spending another $60 million was a good one over a long term,” Muller said. The hospital facilities were built in time periods ranging from about a decade ago to the 1980s to the Great Depression to World War I.

MGH’s new 265-bed hospital and 168,000-square-foot physician office building don’t have a home picked out yet. “Our plan is to work with the City of Marquette, stay here,” Muller said. “They say that there are 30(-acre) or 45-acre sites in the City of Marquette that we could do that.”

So, once the new hospital is built, what happens to the current hospital on College Avenue? That hasn’t been determined yet. “If the city has a plan for the Third Street corridor, a plan to do things with green space, with parks, with housing, this would be a potential site for all that,” Muller said.

Marquette General will ask for input from staff members on the design of the new hospital, and it’ll hold community focus groups about the design sometime in the near future. “If anybody has any thoughts on design of the hospital, they can give me a call and we’d love to include them,” Muller said.

If site selection, design and construction all go as planned, the new hospital should open in late 2016 or early 2017.