Door County Memorial Hospital MHC Begins Largest Ever Construction Project

The largest ever Door County Memorial Hospital construction project, featuring private patient rooms and a new Emergency Department, is now underway.


Pictured from L to R are: John Acker, Shaun Melarvie, MD, Gerald Worrick, Barb Kletzein, Ron Mahorek, Cory Dahl, LaVonne Callsen, Joe McMahon, Pat O’Hern, Jody Boes, Mike Herlache, and Jack Jackson.

Groundbreaking September 23, 2009

The 31,080 square foot two-story addition, being attached to the north side of the existing Sturgeon Bay hospital facility, will include 28 private rooms for medical/surgical, intensive care, birthing and women’s inpatient health on the second level.

The new Emergency Department, on the first level, will have eight private treatment rooms. Centralized nursing areas, enhanced visitor amenities and many other features are also planned.

Cost is $20.5 million with completion expected in September 2010. It will replace a part of the hospital facility built in 1964.

“That was 45 years ago, and reflected how medicine was practiced then. This project is about ensuring the community has a state-of-the art facility, and we are responding to patients and their needs. And one thing they have asked for is private rooms,” says Gerald Worrick, president and CEO of DCMH, a part of Ministry Health Care.

The building is necessary because infrastructure needs to keep pace with other improvements the hospital has made in patient care and technology, adds Jody Boes, vice president of patient care services. “We have excellent physicians, nurses and ancillary staff – laboratory, radiology, rehab and others. We have come so far, especially in the last ten years. But what limits us is the shell of the building,” Boes says.

The inpatient services/Emergency Department addition culminates updates DCMH/MHC has undertaken since 2003. DCMH/MHC built a new Surgery Center in 2003, the Door County Cancer Center in 2005 and, most recently, opened the Women’s and Children’s Health Center in 2007.

The current project is being paid for through donations from the community, operations as well as financing. ”We would not be able to accomplish this replacement of the hospital without the community seeing the importance of a fully integrated hospital in a small rural setting like Door County. They have really stepped up to the plate, and we are so thankful,” says Mike Herlache, executive director of the DCMH Foundation.

The 28 private rooms are allocated to patients as follows: 18 rooms for medical/surgical patients, six rooms for birthing and women’s inpatient care and four rooms for intensive care patients.

Each patient room is designed with zones for the patient and family as well as a work zone for hospital staff.

“Most of the supplies we need to take care of patients on a day-to-day basis will be right within our reach,” says John Storms, director of inpatient services.

Patients will find items—telephone, television control-within their reach, too. And the family zone area is furnished with a sofa and chair. Situated on the outside of the building, the rooms will have windows affording natural light. Each room will also have a bathroom with shower, shower sitting area as well as sink and countertop space.

Still other features include multiple centralized nurses stations and a curved hallway.

The new Emergency Department will have eight private treatment rooms. During peak times, such as the summer, the Emergency Department staff will be able to open up two more rooms to accommodate patients who come in with minor illnesses such as sore throats, fevers and flu-like symptoms.

Staff will see into all treatment rooms from a centralized nurses station and, therefore, better respond to patients’ needs, Boes says.

“I think the design that the staff developed is wonderful. They will truly have the patients in their line of sight at all times,” Boes says.

And technology enhancements include integration of vital signs monitors with the computer charting system. Registration will take place in an enclosed area, affording patients privacy and security.

“Our staff is energized and really looking forward to this. It will be a brand new state-of-the-art Emergency Department,” says Susan Zywicke, director of specialty services.

Also planned is the new Birthing and Women’s Inpatient Center, situated on the second floor of the new addition. It will serve expectant families as well as newborns and women who are recovering from surgery.

Included will be four new Birthing Center rooms for labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum (LDRP). “After the birth, it will be more like a living room than a hospital. The rooms will have all new decorating,” said Jennifer Fischer, director of the Women’s and Children’s Health Center.

The new center will also have a nursery, a triage/observation room and a surgical suite for cesarean section procedures. Two private rooms for women who had procedures such as gynecological or orthopedic surgery are also planned.

After the new addition opens, the current emergency space will become a new Outpatient Center, housing services that do not require an overnight stay at DCMH/MHC. The hospital’s Sleep Laboratory will move to the current Birthing Center space, and the medical/surgical unit will eventually become an area for community classrooms and staff offices. More information is available at or by calling 920.743.5566.

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