Clinic skywalk nearing completion
By Mike Warren
MARSHFIELD – The new skywalk connecting the Marshfield Medical Center with the Marshfield Clinic Health System’s East Wing is nearly complete. An indication of that completion came on May 11, when hospital and construction workers held a brief “topping-off” ceremony to commemorate the placement of the final steel beam needed to complete the structure.
“It really is a special time,” said Pat Board, Marshfield Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer.
Board said the new connector will be used to transport patients from the hospital to various treatments in the East Wing facility.
“For many years now, we have transported our patients over our main corridor from one end of our hospital to the other end of our hospital. That’s amounted to six thousand one-way trips per year,” he added.
Above all else, Board said the new skywalk provides patients with privacy.
“So, you can imagine seeing your neighbor, your neighbor seeing you. Makes things uncomfortable. Maybe not as much dignity and privacy as we wish”, he stated.
The connector stretches from the west end of the hospital, near the surgical intensive care unit, to the fourth floor of the clinic’s East Wing.
“So, the intent is to be able to take patients that have need for services in our East Wing – those are currently our hyperbaric and wound patients, and our oncology patients. Then over the course of time, we’re going to be adding more in-patient beds to our East Wing, so those patients that are in there that will need services back on the west end of our campus will be able to be brought back and forth,” Board said.
The new flat-grade privacy connector stretches for a little more than 600 feet.
“There will be screening up to a certain level, so as people move through the corridors, they won’t be able to see the patients. They might be able to see the people transporting them, but you won’t be able to see the patients”, Board added.
The connector is one of the major pieces of an overall $600 million plan to renovate and redevelop parts of the medical complex, which also includes the creation of a joint urgent care and emergency room on the west end of the hospital campus.
“We have about two-million square feet of building space on this campus, and we’re trying to understand what needs to be refreshed, what needs to be replaced, and making some sense out of a campus that’s grown over the course of a hundred years”, Board said.
Other projects include a complete renovation of the Ear, Nose and Throat, or ENT, department, a new front entry and reception area for the hospital lobby, and a new oral surgery department, which will be relocated in the clinic’s East Wing.