The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 04, 2013

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Marquette General to move, build big

Marquette General Announces New Hospital Construction Plan

Marquette General Hospital and Duke LifePoint Healthcare have announced plans to construct a new 600,000 square-foot, 265-bed hospital to replace the regional medical center facility presently located on College Ave. in Marquette.

“This is an amazing development for our patients and the entire Upper Peninsula region,” said Marquette General CEO Gary Muller.  “Many, many details need to be worked out, but the decision has been made to proceed with planning for a new hospital campus.  Our commitment is to develop the finest healthcare facility imaginable.”

Marquette General was acquired by Duke LifePoint Healthcare in September 2012 and, according to Muller, research and deliberation began before the acquisition was complete to explore options for expanding and enhancing medical services at the present hospital location and evaluate feasibility of constructing a new hospital facility.

Duke LifePoint committed $300 million in capital to expand and upgrade MGH over the next 10 years. It will take approximately three years to plan, design and construct the new facility.  Adjoining the 265-bed hospital structure, Marquette General plans to construct a 168,000-square-foot physician office building. The search is on in the city to find a suitable site of up to 45 acres for construction.

“Our existing facility has served the community well,” Muller said. “However, when you look at the many buildings that house Marquette General, you see a cluster of structures ranging in age from nearly 100 years old to 10 years old.   In order to embrace the medical advances and many ongoing changes in medical care delivery, we have concluded that building a new hospital will best benefit our patients and the UP community we serve.”

It was estimated that expansion and renovation of the current hospital would cost approximately $230 million over several more years.  Constructing a new hospital and physician office building is estimated to cost approximately $290 million.

With new hospital construction in the early planning stages, a location for the facility is yet to be determined.  “Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars in capital allocated, we determined that building a true 21st Century hospital is the best course for us in fulfilling our mission of providing the highest quality of care as the Upper Peninsula’s regional medical center,” Muller said.

The Marquette Mining Journal said the project “will certainly be one of the largest single development projects in the area's recent history and one of the biggest drivers of economic growth in years to come.”

State’s lackluster industry continues

Michigan’s middling construction employment situation continued during the period of August 2012 through August 2013, as jobs in the industry increased 0.8 percent during that time. Our state was at least on the positive side of the ledger: Michigan was ranked No. 32 in construction job gains. There were 15 states that lost jobs during that time, including neighboring Ohio (No. 47) and Indiana (No. 50).

The numbers come from a compilation of employment figures released Sept. 20 by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“While we would all like to see even more robust growth, it is encouraging that most states have a larger construction workforce today than they did a year ago,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “It will take a lot more growth, however, before construction employment levels return to their pre-recession levels in most places.”

Michigan enjoyed a nice bump up in summer employment, increasing 2,700 jobs, (or 2.2 percent) from July to August 2013. That was the eighth highest increase in the nation during that month.

The AGC said that much of the industry’s recent growth was coming from a few private sector areas, particularly demand for new housing and energy facilities. Those gains have been strong enough to offset declining public sector investments and weak private sector demand in areas like retail construction. As a result, many construction employers would be particularly hard hit by a sudden halt in federal construction activity.

“The impacts of a sudden halt in discretionary federal construction investments could be quite severe, especially on employment levels in states with a number of federal construction projects underway” Sandherr added.