MARQUETTE — In about three years, Marquette residents will likely have a good idea of when the city’s new hospital will open. Formerly Marquette General Hospital, U.P. Health System–Marquette is drawing up plans for the new facility that could be as high as eight stories.

However, it will take about two summers just to remove contaminated soil. Before one brick can be laid on the new hospital, it will take about two years to remove tons polluted soil left over from Marquette’s railroading days. In fact, a previous dig closer to the harbor unearthed an old railroad car years ago – so there is no telling what’s under that soil.

“It all depends on the weather, and it all depends on making sure we get all the approvals from the state and federal officials,” said Ed Banos, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Upper Peninsula Health System–Marquette. “The city did a great job, the council approved moving forward with the Brownfield Project which is the first step.”

“Some things will happen” in 2015, Banos said. “I think we have to remember it’s the U.P. You don’t know what the weather is going to be like and we have a very small building season.”

“We would love to be out there with city officials and we are starting to move dirt or some of these things but I can not tell you [a timetable] yet,” said Banos.

Downtown Marquette is going to look very different when the new U.P. Health System–Marquette’s new hospital is built. The city of Marquette DPW garage will be torn down. The city is seeking input on where to build the new garage. There will be an entrance to the hospital off the bypass to access this area which is going to be the new hospital complex.

The area currently has a lot of polluted soil from Marquette’s old railroading days, which is going to have to be removed before the new hospital is built. It’s expected that some roads and some houses will likely be torn down or relocated. U. P. Health System officials are expecting to get architectural drawings soon. For example, we will find out if its going to be five stories or eight stories and how this entire complex will look.

“We can’t tell you the date because we have some details to work out,” said Banos.

Banos said there will be a lot of upcoming public forums to get the input from the public.

“There were initial core drillings, we need to know how much dirt needs to be moved, and how contaminated is the site area. We are looking at a multi-story building. We are looking at something that will be more than four stories and is it going to be six, seven or eight stories – we don’t know yet,” Banos said.

“When you look at that site, some people say it’s too low” compared to the elevation of the city around it, Banos said. “When you get up to three or four stories high, you will have great views of the lake, the ore dock, and other sites,” Banos said. “I think its going to be very impressive.”

The contaminated Railroad Roundhouse property and the connecting city of Marquette DPW Municipal Service Center properties have a combined size of just under 40 acres. The city is selling the former railroad property and the current DPW Municipal Service Center for about $4 million. Duke LifePoint will invest $280 million in the hospital and a new medical office building.

“We are looking at department head managers, the physicians, we are even drawing in patients to get feedback as to what it looks like and that’s part of facility planning,” said Jeff Perry, U.P. Health System-Marquette new Chief Operating Officer (COO). “We want to make sure we have maximum input to ensure patient flow and customer service is there.”

“With the addition of Bell and Portage hospitals to the U.P. Health system, we can redefine healthcare in the U.P.,” Banos said.