Park Nicollet Health Services is at the center of a developmental boom in the Twin Cities, as new construction and renovation projects cover everything from a $140 million hospital expansion to a special Parkinson’s therapy garden.
“This is a very capital-intense time for us,” says Duane Spiegle, Park Nicollet’s vice president of real estate and support services. “I think some of it’s due to the merged entities and the financial strength that we’ve experienced over the last several years.”
In 2013, Park Nicollet merged with HealthPartners, the nation’s largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization.
Spiegle has been with Park Nicollet for nearly 28 years, and although the organization had about 30,000 square feet of medical space when he joined, he is now responsible for 5.5 million square feet. He’s in charge of cradle-to-grave real estate activities, environmental services, facility management, food service operation, maintenance of certain medical equipment, and supply-chain management. More than 400 employees report to Spiegle, who has a degree in finance and risk management from the University of Wisconsin.
Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital Expansion/Renovation
Park Nicollet is expanding and renovating Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Once the project, which is the organization’s single largest to date and estimated at more than $140 million, wraps in 2019, 97 percent of patient rooms will be private and have in-room showers. The hospital, built in 1959, still has many semi-private rooms and shared shower facilities. The upgrade is necessary not only to increase patient satisfaction, but also to reduce slips and falls from walking down the hall to the shower, Spiegle says.
“We’re a little bit behind the curve here in that regard,” he says. “Probably one of the things that’s helped us be sustainable, too, is that we haven’t overly spent on brick and mortar. We try to put more of our resources into equipment to serve patients and people—to serve them and not the facilities. But now we have to catch up.”
The hospital is building two 20,000- square-foot wings for larger private rooms, in addition to remodeling existing inpatient rooms, labs and radiology space. It also is adding about 20,000 square feet to the operating room area.
Project: Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital expansion/renovation
Location: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Cost: $140 million
Scope: 60,000 sq. ft. of new space, plus inpatient area remodel
Timeline: Began fall 2014, expected completion 2019
The project began in fall 2014 and is being completed in phases to avoid disrupting hospital services. Crews have to construct the additional space before they’re able to remodel existing rooms. They also have to work on one wing at a time, since it requires access above or below the floor for mechanical and electrical connections, Spiegle says.
“We have to take small pieces of the hospital, so it takes time to go through the entire hospital and redo it in the patient setting,” he says.
Despite the expansion, the hospital won’t have additional beds. Spiegle says he managed costs by converting shared rooms to singles within the rooms’ existing footprint. The surgical area will drop from 21 smaller operating rooms to 17 larger ones that can better accommodate high-tech equipment and support staff.
Market research and demographic data suggests the hospital can accommodate the aging population with the current number of beds through initiatives aimed at keeping patients healthier and out of the hospital.
“It’s just time for the hospital to be refreshed,” he says. “It’s been so long and we’ve been very frugal in the past and we need to loosen the purse strings a little bit … we need to invest our proceeds back into the community.”
Park Nicollet Struthers Parkinson’s Center Expansion
The $2.5 million expansion and upgrade of the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota, was made possible by donations from Evelyn Struthers’ estate and from three generations of Struthers family members, according to Park Nicollet.
Evelyn Struthers, whose husband suffered from Parkinson’s disease, dreamed of having a therapeutic garden and footpath for patients at the facility that the family has supported for 20 years.
The expansion took about a year as Spiegle navigated challenges presented by a tight site, a planned unit development, and covenants with neighbors. Costs also came in higher than expected because of site issues with water drainage, but the Struthers family came through with additional funding.
“It’s not a large addition … but it really meets what she saw as her vision and passion for serving the park patients in our community,” Spiegle says. “In fact they come from other geographies as well.”
Regional Specialty Center Renovation
Park Nicollet constructed a 93,000-square-foot specialty center in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove, which experienced explosive growth in recent years. The facility, which opened in October 2015, is attached to a 30,000-square-foot primary care clinic. The organization plans to gut that building and remodel it into an ambulatory surgery center by summer 2016. The total cost, excluding land, is $48 million.
Through surveys and focus groups, Park Nicollet determined its patients wanted more specialty care in the Maple Grove area instead of having to drive to St. Louis Park, Spiegle says. The new surgical center will relieve some pressure from the hospital while also moving outpatient surgeries away from the higher-cost inpatient setting.
Since the center includes primary care, specialty care, and surgical services, Park Nicollet enlisted an administrator from its surgical services line and a medical director from its primary care service line to co-lead the facility.
“We’re trying this model out to see how it works because it could be something that we would replicate in other areas where we have a large specialty center,” he says.