City forms panel to pitch for hospital

MARQUETTE – The city of Marquette is making sure it is involved in the decision-making process for the site of a new area hospital.

Mayor Robert Niemi and commissioners Don Ryan and Sara Cambensy were named at last week’s Marquette City Commission meeting to the Duke LifePoint Marquette General Health System Negotiation Subcommittee.

In September, a year after Duke LifePoint Healthcare acquired Marquette General, hospital officials announced a new hospital and an adjoining 168,000 square-foot physician office building would be built to replace the medical facility on West College Avenue. Groundbreaking on the new 265-bed hospital could occur in spring 2015.

Niemi said when the fine-tuning takes place to determine the new site, it would be good to have a committee with clout.

Sites within Marquette and Marquette Township are being considered, and Niemi said the city is still much in the running.

He said city staff has been gathering information, including Geographic Information System data, that will be helpful to the committee in making a strong pitch to the site developer and being able to respond to its questions.

“So, at the end, it’ll be nice, the assurances, we as a city want this hospital,” Niemi said.

He said it will be about a month before a decision is made and as that decision-making process unfolds, the subcommittee will make preparations.

Still, Niemi acknowledged the timetable leaves some questions.

“They can move a lot quicker than we can,” Niemi said.

Marquette General CEO Ed Banos indicated to The Mining Journal in a previous interview that criteria such as accessibility, size of the land and cost of the infrastructure will be taken into account when a site is chosen.

The city subcommittee was created to be more knowledgeable about these types of topics.

“So, we’ll know what we need to do when we need to do it,” Niemi said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.