Aspirus groundbreaking set for Sept. 20
By Eileen Persike
The shovels are ready for this week’s official start to a $14 million Rhinelander campus expansion project at Aspirus. The 21,000 square foot building will house 21 new specialty exam rooms as well as the physical therapy department and a new sleep study space. The site plan was approved by the Rhinelander Common Council in August. Discussion surrounding the Rhinelander area strategy began three years ago.
“At that point we were looking at what we’re going to need to provide care up here now and into the future,” said Robb Fabich, director of northern region development for Aspirus. “I just don’t have space for any more rotating specialists. So the demand for specialty care as well as space needed to continue to grow primary care is really the driving factor of this building.”
The Baby Boomer generation – people born between 1946 and 1964 – factored into the plans, Fabich said, as ‘boomers are getting to the point where they will need more care. Not only in Rhinelander, but the surrounding markets, too.
“This is really just one phase of a whole splash of taking a look at our surrounding areas and what we need to do to be able to grow up here, maintain care, be available for patient demand and have services in place where we need them,” Fabich said.
Anyone driving by Aspirus will see workers relocating utilities in preparation for the footings being placed before the frost this fall. The expansion will be north of the existing structure, toward and west of the former Rusty Nail. It’s expected the new building will be ready for occupancy by October 2020.
The Rhinelander office is an important one for Aspirus as it bridges the Upper Peninsula region and the Wausau market, Fabich said. “By bolstering the services in Rhinelander we can better serve all three markets,” he added.
The existing 28,000 square foot building opened in March 2008. After the expansion is complete, a remodel of that space will begin.