When Saint Mary's Hospital and Rhinelander Medical Center in North Central Wisconsin became part of the same health system, joint planning of a new healthcare campus, located in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, presented fresh opportunities to boost efficiency, cut costs, and improve patient care while laying the groundwork for future expansion.

Combining the large physician group practice with a 73-bed community hospital resulted in a fully integrated medical campus with four key elements: an ambulatory care center, a diagnostic/treatment block, patient care units, and a medical office building. The design uses the uneven topography to balance the efficiency of shared services with the need to compartmentalize discrete functions.

Many of the site's natural features were preserved, such as the grove of pine trees at the primary entrance, allowing the hospital to take full advantage of natural vistas. Walking trails and wooded areas surround the Bed Tower, “Community Center,” and Cancer Center, lending to the North Woods lodge feeling and healing environment demanded by the client.

Project category: New construction (completed May 2004)

Chief administrator: William Erickson, COO Administration, (715) 369-6441

Firm: HGA, (414) 278-8200

Design team: Kurt Spiering, Principal-in-Charge; Frank Nemeth, Senior Project Designer; Scott Lindvall, Project Manager; Randy Beckwith, Project Architect; AnnMarie Wittig, Interior Designer


Total building area (sq. ft.): 242,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $190

Total construction cost (excluding land): $46,000,000

The well-defined clinic, ED, and patient-care–unit wings are linked by a two-story connecting spine that creates distinctive wayfinding to the shared D/T and surgical services core.

Additional amenities include hospitality-like patient-room designs, toilet rooms, lounge areas, Internet connectivity, and an indoor/outdoor café, chapel, gift shop, and Health Resource and Wellness Center. These orbit the Community Center, with its copper fireplace and views to the lake and woods that are the heart of the entire campus.