MARQUETTE — Drilling for core samples continued Thursday in Marquette on the building site for a new hospital and medical center as major changes are coming soon and over the next few years in the city’s medical community.

The city’s Municipal Center will be torn down, and city officials met behind closed doors Thursday to discuss how the new DPW center may look. A work crew from TriMedia Environment and Engineering consultants was drilling to find the water table Thursday afternoon on the new hospital’s future building site. They were in search of the groundwater table, which is only about 10 feet deep in this area. The entire site is lower than most of the city.

Core drilling allows experts to determine how much polluted soil must be removed. The building site lays on the ground of the old railroad roundhouse and there’s no telling how much fuel and objects lay beneath the site. Duke LifePoint bought the site from the city for $4 million to build the new U.P. Health System–Marquette hospital that could be as tall as 8 stories. Duke LifePoint is investing $280 million in the new hospital and a new medical office.

All that pollution from Marquette’s railroading days must be hauled away before construction can begin on the 40 acre site. Meanwhile a few blocks away, the city’s committee that examines the construction of a new Marquette Municipal Center met behind closed doors Thursday afternoon. One of the four designs and building teams are vying for the project.

The committee will review the proposals from the design/build teams again on Friday and make a Feb. 9th recommendation to the entire city council. Marquette’s mayor and the city’s DPW director both declined to be interviewed for this story. The city committee held an open meeting earlier in the week and broadcast on city Channel 191.

“That’s a big decision that will start to get us on the ground running,” said Curt Goodman, director of the City of Marquette Public Works and Utilities. “There will be additional meetings as we go through the design of the facility.”

The countless permits and other behind-the-scenes work has been a joint collaboration between UPHS–Marquette and the city.

“Their staff worked so hard to get the documents completed so we can get them in,” said Ed Banos, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Upper Peninsula Health System–Marquette.

“We can’t thank the council, and all of the city employees who worked so hard, and there were a lot of people of the hospital side that helped support that,” Banos said.