Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Meriter develops 10-year facility renovation plans

Madison?s Meriter Hospital is completing plans to renovate and improve the interior of the hospital over the next 10 years.

The plan includes new operating rooms, private patient
rooms, a women?s services pavilion, improved landscaping around the hospital
and a medical office building across the street.

Melissa Huggins, senior associate in planning for Meriter,
said the planning department hired a firm to do a strategic master plan of the
and the plans for the next 10 years are a reflection of the top recommendations
from those evaluations.


New operating rooms have been in the works for two years,
?but it takes a long time to get there,? Huggins said.

Currently, operating rooms in Meriter?s atrium and towers
exist under standards from the 1970s, when the recommended size was 500 square
feet, Huggins said. For 2008, the recommended room size is between 800 and
1,200 square feet, to allow more space for equipment
and a more flexible workspace.

Huggins said plans are still in the drafting process to
renovate the north tower to dedicate it to women?s services, though it will be
two to three years before the plans are implemented.

To meet consumer demand, increase efficiency and better
accommodate patients, the 342-bed hospital plans to build new private patient
rooms and eliminate remaining shared rooms.

?It?s more efficient to have private rooms because we don?t
have to worry about mismatching roommates,? Huggins said, adding patients of
opposite sex cannot share rooms and patients with infectious diseases must have
their own rooms. It also allows the hospital to better meet the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standards forbidding sharing
confidential medical information with anyone besides the patient.

?Private rooms are a more healing environment,? Huggins

Landscaping the exterior is also in the works for Meriter,
set to complete the first phase on Park Street this year, according to Huggins.
The next three years will bring more lighting, benches and banners around the

Huggins said she is working very closely with neighborhood
residents to ensure hospital plans are sensitive to the needs of the decreasing
student population in the Greenbush neighborhood around the hospital.

Meriter is also working on the workforce housing concept,
encouraging hospital employees to live in its surrounding neighborhoods.
Huggins said Meriter participated in a survey with St. Mary?s Hospital and the
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics examining
workforce housing and is just beginning to work on it.

Ald. Julia Kerr, District 13, said she has been a huge
proponent of workforce housing since before she became an alder.

?[Meriter is] an important employer and part of the community,?
Kerr said about the renovation plans. ?There is nothing to not like.?

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