Tomah officials hope new hospital will boost south side

Tomah Memorial planning to move to new $72 million facility

Tomah Memorial Hospital officials say it’s time to move. They’re planning to build a $72 million dollar health and wellness facility on a 40-acre site near Interstate 90, and city officials hope it will be a boost to the community’s south side.

Tomah Memorial Hospital CEO, Phil Stuart, said plans to move from the current location at a building from the 1950s have been in the works for years.

“Our current location does not allow us to expand,” he said. “We’re on a nice lake, and the building wasn’t designed to go to a third floor, so in order for us to expand, to add services, we have to move.”

The plan is to build a 130 thousand square foot hospital, a medical office building shared with other health systems and a community wellness facility along Gopher Avenue adjacent to Interstate 90.

Stuart said hospital officials are speaking with the YMCA of La Crosse about the wellness center.

“By incorporating the wellness component, that’s really what we should be about is taking care of people and keeping them healthy,” he said. “I mean, we’re here to take care of you when you’re sick and injured, that’s in our mission statement, but at the end of the day we want to keep people healthy.”

The hospital’s construction may kick off other developments, as well.

“We’ve been doing quite a lot of business development calls and having a lot of interest from outside companies looking how they can play off what the hospital’s doing,” Tina Thompson, CEO of the Tomah Chamber and Visitors Center, said.

Thompson said Tomah has already seen a lot of development on city’s the north side, and the new hospital on the south side could help balance things out.

“We’re working really hard to be in growth mode, and now we’re starting to see the fruits of those labors,” Thompson said. “We’re anticipating this will provide more growth opportunities for those wanting to live in a rural community.”

Tomah Memorial Hospital is also looking for public input on the project. A survey is up on the hospital’s website and will be open for responses until July 5.

Stuart said there are no plans yet for the current hospital building on 321 Butts Ave.

The groundbreaking date for the new facility is still up in the air, but the current plan is set at summer of 2017.