Council allows Marshfield Clinic’s hospital plans to move forward
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — One week after Marshfield’s city plan commission approved two conditional use permits that would allow the Marshfield Clinic to proceed with building a new hospital, the Marshfield Common Council followed suit.
Two separate permits were approved, one granted for the construction of the new hospital, a central utility plant, and an on-site parking ramp, and the second for the construction of an off-site parking lot that will be used by construction crews during the building process as well as clinic staff and patients.
The new hospital is planned to be over 600,000 square feet with 202 beds, eight floors, and accompanied by a four-level, 750-stall parking garage. It will be physically connected to the existing East Wing of Marshfield Clinic. Groundbreaking on the new hospital is planned to occur some time this spring, according to a clinic spokesperson.
A document supplied by Marshfield Clinic to the city said the new hospital “must evoke a sense of high-tech competence in order to represent the advanced treatment occurring within, but it must also feel welcoming, healing, and safe.”
“Marshfield Clinic staff worked closely with city leaders the past few months to make sure our project plans met all city policies and codes,” Marshfield Clinic Executive Director Dr. Narayana Murali said in a press release sent out Tuesday night. “We kept city leaders apprised of our plans so we can construct a hospital that is an asset for this community.”
Ministry Health Care has objected to Marshfield Clinic’s plans on the grounds that the community cannot support two hospitals. Dan Ramsey, Marshfield Clinic Health System chief operating officer, said last week that with Ministry’s focus on bolstering its presence in the Wausau area, Marshfield Clinic’s new hospital would “preserve jobs” in the community.
The council’s action should clear the path for the clinic to begin construction. However, conflict with Ministry remains a possibility. Late in 2015, Ministry filed a lawsuit against the city’s zoning board of appeals for a decision it made to not require Marshfield Clinic to receive conditional use permits for remodeling of its East Wing. Ministry could take legal action to challenge the council’s decision, according to city officials.
Council members Rebecca Spiros, Peter Hendler, and Gordy Earll abstained from the vote due to conflicts of interest.