Renovation revision

(First published in the April 18, 2019 issue of City Pages)

Under a more neighborhood-friendly plan, North Central Health Care’s $73 million renovation — including a youth mental health treatment building — could start this summer


Plan rendering: North Central Health Care renovations are expected to start in June, and recent revisions seemed to have satisfied neighboring residents.

North Central Health Care and Marathon County leaders have a newly revised plan to renovate the sprawling campus, and compared to the first time they presented their plans, the response was relatively quiet.

The new proposal is the latest version of the $73 million plan to renovate the campus, including a completely rebuilt four story building that will house Mount View Care Center nursing home, and a main building that’s far easier to navigate and more secure than the current structure, says Michael Loy, CEO of NCHC.

The main source of contention, voiced by many residents at a Southeast Side Neighborhood meeting last month, concerned two standalone buildings near Marshall Street, including a youth inpatient mental health treatment center and a community-based rehabilitation facility. Residents were concerned about the timing of the project and how it was conveyed to the neighborhood, and the fact that the buildings were so close to the neighborhood. Many at that meeting supported the plan but wanted to make sure it blended better with the surrounding residential area.

Under the revisions, those two buildings were pushed back 216 feet from Marshall Street, and masked by berms to increase privacy both for the neighborhood and for patients in the facilities. The buildings were also rotated in a way to increase privacy.

“Before we left the [southeast side] meeting, we were on the phone to the architect saying you gotta work on those buildings,” says Marathon County Deputy Administrator Lance Leonhard.

Attendance at the two public meetings held at NCHC have been relatively sparse compared to the Southeast Side Neighborhood meeting last month, and the roughly 15 attendees at Monday’s meeting mostly asked detail questions. A few expressed gratitude that the county and NCHC listened to residents, and the meeting ended in applause.

The renovation plans will go before the plan commission May 21 and the city council on May 28. Construction is expected to start this summer on the warm water therapy pool and the two buildings.