Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Miron Construction believes that two heads are better than one. If the project allows, it doesn’t hurt to have a third opinion, too – so long as the diverse views are aligned to one goal. In the case of a replacement facility for the old Langlade Hospital in Antigo, Wis., the patients take preference.

“The hospital is designed with the patient experience in mind and patient outcome is first priority,” says Todd Sabourin, Miron project executive. “Every decision was based on what was best for the patient, and the hospital’s administration team really drove that home.”

The current 1930s-built Langlade Hospital is 110,000 square feet of sprawled-out space, unyielding to today’s healthcare needs. After working with healthcare consultant Sg2 on patient projection studies, the hospital concluded that the current Langlade with its inefficient HVAC system, vintage electrical system and inaccessible design had to go. The answer to their needs lies directly behind the facility where the new 95,000-square-foot replacement hospital is being built.

Miron was hired in March 2009 as the design-build contractor for the new hospital. In April 2009, Miron and the project owners brought on Wisconsin-based Eppstein Uhen Architects. With the contractor and architect in place, the team wasted little time in getting people involved.

“One thing we implemented right off the bat was an authors of change process where we asked every employee in the hospital to take pictures of their work area, print them out and highlight their likes and dislikes,” Sabourin says. “We compiled all of that information into a large three-ring binder and used a lot of it as a starting point for our design work.”

Staff involvement didn’t stop there. Six months into the project, Miron began working with cross-functional groups from each department and forming innovation teams (iTeams). Twenty-six iTeams met biweekly to analyze the hospital’s processes, incorporating experience-based design and lean principles, and ultimately creating the hospital of the future. A key focus was improving each point-of-contact experience with the patients, from registration to release, going as far as analyzing how to best design the parking lots and way-finding for optimal patient satisfaction. The new hospital will also switch to a centralized registration desk, rather than separate registration desks for each department, as in the current operation.

Hospital staff members weren’t the only people involved in design; Miron called on patient feedback, as well. “One thing we’ve found when designing a healthcare facility, is that you not only need staff input, but you need patient involvement also,” Sabourin says.

Future Efficiencies

From speaking with patients, hospital staff, and physicians, Miron knew a major goal was to construct a hospital that could serve the needs of patients today and into the future. In its patient focus groups, Langlade saw the biggest divide between older generation and younger, tech-savvy patients. The younger generation would like to see more things automated and self-controlled such as registration and the nurse-call system, while the older generation opposed these types of changes. The team’s solution to this issue was to build a simplified system with the ability to add and expand functions in the future as more patients become comfortable with technology.

Sabourin says the design phase has been the project’s most challenging, but also it’s most rewarding. Though there were many needs to serve with the new design, he says it encouraged the hospital to reinvent itself into a more efficient organization in a fast-tracked time frame. “All of the process of reinvention takes a lot of time,” Sabourin says. “Pushing that through and making decisions was key. It helped them in their process of improvement, and we had to get it done and make it happen. What normally takes four or five years was condensed to an 18-month period.”

Upon its expected May 2012 completion, the new Langlade hospital will be a two-story, 23-bed critical-access hospital with three operating rooms, a full-service imaging department and a woman’s center. Sabourin says the new design is more compact to create operational efficiencies in what will also be a very energy-efficient facility.

“We are following many of the [LEED] guidelines with our methods-focused sustainability,” Sabourin says. “One of the main focuses on this project has been to be environmentally friendly, not only during construction but after. Through their process improvement initiatives, the hospital is implementing a large number of green processes.” Miron implements a mandatory construction waste recycling program on all of its projects and will focus on controlling indoor environmental air quality once the building becomes enclosed.

Experienced Home Team

Construction for the new Langlade Hospital began in November 2010 and as of May 2011 the team was in the early construction stages. Technologies such as BIM are being used on site for project verification. The structural steel frame has been completed and the team is beginning the exterior wall framing and pouring of the interior floor slabs. Interior mechanical and electrical rough-in work has also begun. 

Working alongside the design-build team is what Sabourin describes as an experienced team of local subcontractors. “The owner wanted to use local craftsmen as much as possible,” he says. “We have a lot of very experienced contractors and tradesmen working on the job. This area of the state has a large population of very highly-skilled tradesmen, of which we are taking full advantage. With the brutal winter months behind us, the subcontractors are ramping up for a busy summer. So far it has gone well with all of them.” Some of Miron’s key partners include Joe DeNoble Sewer & Water.

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