Aurora Medical Center exterior nearly complete

Waukesha Freeman

Aurora Medical Center exterior nearly complete

Waukesha Freeman, October 22, 2008

Freeman Staff

TOWN OF SUMMIT - The exterior of the Aurora Medical Center here is almost finished and the hospital is on track to open in early 2010, the site's developer said this week.

Michael Day, senior project executive at Hammes Co., said roofing is finished, most of the utilities are installed and the walls will soon be entirely enclosed with pre-cast brick panels. All of the major trees and outlying landscape will be finished this fall, but all landscaping close to the building will be finished next spring.

A teal screening device will be installed mid-November on the top of the building to shield the roof mechanicals from sights as high as the Highway 67 bypass over Interstate 94.

The contractors are also creating a full intersection at Blue Ribbon Drive and Highway 67, which will now allow northbound Highway 67 traffic to turn left into the Pabst Farms Commerce Center.

To give the 800,000-square-foot building a more residential feel, each of the hospital's five entrances has its respective parking lot. The three-story medical office building is flanked on the south side by an inpatient hospital and cancer center. An ambulatory entrance and an ambulatory emergency room entrance are located on the north side of the building, facing I-94.

Day said visitors will always maintain their sense of direction throughout the spacious hospital, because the hallway layout of each floor is consistent, and every hallway leads toward a natural light source.

"Instead of using signage, we try to use nature and orientation to direct people throughout the hospital," Day said.

In an enclosure outside of the inpatient wing, a large courtyard is reserved for a healing garden, which features a large grass lawn, an outdoor chapel, native perennials and trees. The centerpiece of the garden is a rectangular water basin dissected by a charcoal-colored walkway. Rising up from the middle of the arrangement is a large "healing hand" sculpture, which Day said represents the hospital's emphasis on care.

Another external courtyard can be seen from the pediatric ward on the fourth floor. The family lounge on the floor features a kitchen, so family members are encouraged to bake their own food during their stay.

"To me, this project needs to be about more than bricks and mortar," Day said. "The architecture needs to be subserving to the care."

All patient rooms will be equipped with a sleeper sofa, computer desk, bookshelf and a custom entertainment armoire outfitted with a large television that provides entertainment as well as information about the specific patient's condition.

Day said none of the 600 crew members have been hurt since they broke ground more one year ago.


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