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Langlade County News

'Sneak Peek' Offers Ideal Opportunity

April 26, 2012

Langlade Hospital will offer a sneak peek of its sparkling new facility on Friday and Sunday and it is shaping as a “can’t miss” event for the community.

Administrator Dave Schneider explained that, although a formal grand opening is planned later this year, Friday and Sunday’s tours will offer an opportunity for the public to see areas that will be strictly off-limits once the hospital is placed in operation on May 13.

“This is the community’s chance to see all of the hospital,” Schneider said, noting that obviously some areas must remain private once the facility is in use.

That means that this weekend’s events will be the only chance, dependent on happy or unhappy circumstances, to view areas such as the surgical suites, which offer state-of-the-art lighting and equipment, to inpatient rooms and the various imaging centers.

The tours will take place on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Visitors should enter through the General Clinic’s main doors off Aurora Street. The actual grand entrance to the new hospital cannot be constructed until the present facility is removed this summer.

Langlade Hospital is not a cookie-cutter facility that could be dropped into any small community from Texas to Michigan. It has a range of features that make it unique to Antigo, exactly as the designers envisioned.

The hospital has the “Three Sisters Cafe,” named in honor of two groups of three sisters. In 1932, three members of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph came to Antigo to operate what was then Langlade County Memorial Hospital. Today, Religous Hospitallers of St. Joseph Sisters Adele and Dolores Demulling and Jean Bricco serve the facility.

A gift shop operated by Exclusively Schroeder’s of Antigo is snugged in a nearby area.

There is a wall of history, which charts the course of the health care facility from its beginnings through modern day, and the walls are filled with art-quality photographs from throughout the community, taken by local photographers. Scenes, chosen via an Internet-based competition, range from the locomotive at the Langlade County Historical Society Museum to a Music in the Park performance by the MLC Blues Band at the City Park bandstand.

A few areas have special poignancy. The new “Tree of Life” features wood taken from the black cherry tree that once graced the LeRoyer Walkway that had to be removed. The wood spider-webs across the wall, with donors listed on “leaves” that will hang from the individual branches. That same black cherry wood was also used for the pulpit, altar and clergy chair in the new chapel, created by White Lake artisan Tom Gallenberg.

A mosaic with 900 tiles of various colors—600 of them containing pictures of hospital employees—covers another wall near the cafe, with all of them promising to work together to provide the finest in health care.

And the hospital’s soaring main entrance is graced with the stained glass windows that once adorned the chapel in the old facility.

Together, it creates a statement of stability, commitment and faith in the past, present and future.

The $45 million, 97,000 square feet facility is a joint effort between the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and Aspirus.

The hospital’s features “front of house,” the public areas, and “back of house,” corridors, elevators and rooms accessible only to staff. That will create an uncluttered, yet extremely efficient, traffic flow.

The main level also includes an interior courtyard, conceived as an oasis of green for employees and visitors. There’s a secondary purpose as well, allowing natural light to flood what would otherwise be interior spaces.

The second floor is covered with tough-performing vinyl flooring that resembles hardwood minus the noise and durability issues. Wood-grained nurses stations march down the corridor, with patient rooms ringing the exterior. Each room has double-wide doors, tiled private bathrooms with walk-in showers and sofa sleepers for family members.

The birthing center, accessible through secure doors, has a few special touches as well, including whirlpools for the mothers in labor, and plenty of room for dads and families.

The hospital includes 23 patient beds, three surgical suites, imaging laboratory, emergency department, walk-in clinic and the chapel.

Administration hinted at construction of a new facility for years, with planning advancing quickly after a deal was reached with the city of Antigo that placed it on the grounds of the old municipal pool. The actual announcement, made jointly by Aspirus and the Religious Hospitallers came in March, 2010 with ground-breaking on Nov. 1, 2010.

Designed by Eppstein Uhen, a nationally-recognized architectural firm that specializes in health care facilities, with the help of Sg2, an international health care think tank, the facility was also improved through unprecedented input from staff on everything from the placement of sinks and electrical outlets to hand-washing stations and patient traffic flow.

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