Look Up

Posted 28 April 2015 4:17 PM by TCAuthor3

By Carol Ryczek, Community Relations Manager

We have become a nation of hunchers. We hunch over a keyboard, a game controller, a cell phone, a steering wheel.  Happy or sad, proud or humble, we look down. It’s time to look up.

When you walk into the atrium at the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, you will look up. You won’t be able to help it. The atrium in the entrances soars almost 50 feet, and your eyes, and chin, will follow the stairway up to the ceiling. The entrance will literally lift your spirits. That sense of inspiration is an important part of the design, Dorothy Erdmann, Shawano Medical Center CEO, explained.

“We want the entrance to feel positive and welcoming. The glass brings in light and nature. We want our patients to walk in and feel inspired, reassured that this is a good place to be,” Dorothy said.

And, because health care costs can be a little overwhelming, it may be reassuring to know that despite its soaring appearance, the atrium, per cubic foot, costs less than the rest of the building.

The atrium uses materials that are energy efficient as they bring in a sense of nature. There is stone in the terrazzo floor and on the columns, reports Brian Mulroy, project manager for Boldt Construction. (The stone wrapping the columns is from Michels Quarry, south of Fond du Lac). Inside, the ceiling panels are a product called WoodWorks, with a light cherry finish. Outside, the panels are composite metal with an Italian Walnut finish. The roof of the entire building is insulated and covered with a thick rubber membrane.  

As they work their way up to the 49’8” ceiling, Boldt workers wear a harness that is attached by a lanyard to an anchor point in the basket of the lift.  For the Boldt teams, going to work in a 50-foot lift is what Brian calls “another day at the office.”

Although from the outside, it looks like the atrium has taken a long time to build, it is on schedule with the rest of the project.  Most of the materials inside the atrium needed to be installed in a weather-tight area. Rather than enclose the atrium and heat it, Boldt crews worked in other areas of the building that were fully enclosed to increase efficiency and lower the heating costs during the winter months.

Work on the atrium is wrapping up. You can’t miss it as you drive toward the new medical center site, as it is the focal point for the entire building. It is so striking, it could very well be destined to become one of the defining landmarks for Shawano – but that’s just a hunch.