sand lake road

Mayo buys land in Onalaska, hints at expanding care

2014-02-07T00:00:00Z Mayo buys land in Onalaska, hints at expanding careMIKE TIGHE mtighe@lacrossetribune La Crosse Tribune
February 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Mayo Clinic Health System has bought nearly 200 acres of land in Onalaska but said it does not have immediate plans for the property, other than hinting at additional Mayo services in the region.

The Rochester, Minn.-based health care giant paid $8.32 million for the 187.4 acres along Hwy. 35 and Sand Lake Road, according to land records filed Tuesday.

“Our organization is dynamic and growing, the health care environment is changing rapidly, and we are seeking ways that we can work differently, provide care differently and broaden access to health care for everyone in the area,” Mayo said in a written statement Thursday.

The property, across Sand Lake Road from Menards, includes about 80 build-able acres, with the rest being wooded bluffland, said Peter Hughes, Mayo's regional vice president for business development and marketing in southwest Wisconsin.

“At this juncture, we do not have firm plans” for the property, Hughes said in an interview. “That’s what we will endeavor to do with Mayo leadership in Rochester and Mayo leadership in southwest Wisconsin.”

Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen confirmed that he is aware of Mayo’s purchase but said he is not at liberty to say more. There is nothing on the city's agenda pertaining to the land, Chilsen said.

"We’re waiting for Mayo to tell us what they’re going to do with that piece," he said.

The hospital statement said, “We will evaluate how we can create new, innovative models of care to meet the needs of our communities and bring more Mayo Clinic care to the region.”

Asked whether the property might be used for a new hospital, clinic or nursing home, Hughes said, “We will look at what would be appropriate for the land for future health care needs.”

Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare has no plans to abandon its main campus, spokesman Rick Thiesse said.

“We are fully committed to the city of La Crosse,” he said. “Especially for our patients here.”

Between 2009 and 2013, Mayo-Franciscan Healthcare invested more than $63 million in capital projects.

It operates a hospital and a clinic on its La Crosse campus, as well as the $28.4 million Center for Advanced Medicine and Surgery, which was completed in 2004. A $9 million emergency room addition opened there in 2008.

In 2006, Mayo opened a $16 million, 100,000-square-foot clinic on Theater Road in Onalaska, about 2.5 miles from the newly purchased land. It also has smaller clinic in Holmen, about four miles north of the Sand Lake property.

Mayo has been in the market for land for about three years, Hughes said.

“With a limited number of suitable sites, we wanted to make sure to keep our options open and make sure for the future we would have land available to provide health care in the region,” he said.

The purchase comes just two weeks after Gundersen Health System opened a new $180 million hospital wing as part of an ongoing renewal of its La Crosse campus.

Hughes deflected questions about whether Mayo’s purchase is related, saying, “This land is for the future of our organization.”

Gundersen officials declined to comment on Mayo’s land purchase.

Mayo-Franciscan’s history goes back to 1883, when the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration founded St. Francis Hospital as the first hospital in southwest Wisconsin.

In 1995, the Franciscan Health System, Skemp Clinic and Mayo joined to become Franciscan Skemp Healthcare-Mayo Clinic Health System. It changed its name to Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in 2011.

The FSPAs welcomed the land purchase.

“This is the beginning of an exciting process for Mayo in the Midwest,” said Sister Eileen Lang, FSPA vice president who works with institutions the order sponsors.

The FSPAs and Mayo-Franciscan “are in dialogue about future plans for the organization’s growth,” Lang said. “We intend to work as closely as possible with both Mayo-Franciscan and Mayo Clinic Rochester now that the purchase is made and plans begin taking shape.”

The Mayo system has hospitals and clinics in 70 communities in southwest Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, including Sparta, Tomah, Arcadia, Prairie du Chien, La Crescent and Caledonia, Minn., and Waukon, Iowa.

Mayo-Franciscan operates assisted and independent living facilities in central La Crosse and in Lansing, Iowa. The group formerly ran a nursing home in Arcadia that was turned over last year to Benedictine Health System, which recently announced it will close the facility by April 14.

Tribune reporter Chris Hubbuch contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. tisme
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    tisme - February 08, 2014 11:42 am
    And Mayo gets larger and larger buying up health-systems and now buying land. It won't be long and the only choice for healthcare in MANY areas will be ONLY Mayo related. Can anyone say "Monopoly Loophole Use?" Mayo Franciscan in La Crosse doesn't even follow Medical Ethics, (especially Maleficence and Non-Maleficence) - they also turn a blind eye to employees abusing, bullying, mistreating, and etc. patients - especially those that are disabled!!! (I KNOW this for a FACT - I was one of them.) Misdiagnoses also abound and the patients end up not getting the correct treatment(s)!!! What are their employees allowed to do at their other clinics and hospitals in other cities and towns? Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare is DANGEROUS!!! RUN from them while you still have a chance!!! (In order for all this to be a "legal" opinion - I have to say ALL of what I wrote here are my beliefs and opinions - despite the fact they are FACTS -. IMHO)
  2. David Lee
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    David Lee - February 07, 2014 6:09 pm
    You probably don't have a clue were they even are.
  3. Frankly
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    Frankly - February 07, 2014 11:55 am
    My guess is that we'll see a new hospital going up out there soon, as well as a nursing home. The bluffland will probably become a park donation to the city. (The border of the Onalaska School Forest is close by, if not directly adjacent to this property.) I suspect we'll see a housing boom in the general vicinity soon as well. And all of that might be the trigger for a new Festival Foods in the Sand Lake area too.
  4. RINO Cowboy
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    RINO Cowboy - February 07, 2014 9:21 am
    Prison? Nah, just dont provide health care. Cant have it both ways. (note: rhetorical suggestion, not ethical in practice, therein lies the social problem. Unless, that is, you are a Just Say No party member)
  5. RINO Cowboy
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    RINO Cowboy - February 07, 2014 9:19 am
    Nope, already used to good purpose. Nice try though.
  6. nels
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    nels - February 07, 2014 9:16 am
    Yeah I have that problem all the time, buy 8 million of land and don't know what to do with it. John Menard knew what to do with it.
  7. LesTrafik
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    LesTrafik - February 07, 2014 7:49 am
    Recent Sand Lake Rd improvements are not likely not equipped to handle Mayo’s demand. Already roundabout leg(s) showing potential for failure, and left turns off both ramp terminals still tricky. Road face lift is coming, in time.
  8. Buggs Raplin
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    Buggs Raplin - February 07, 2014 6:57 am
    They'll use it for a prison for all those who refuse to purchase health insurance.
  9. JS
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    JS - February 07, 2014 6:06 am
    Interesting, depending on what they intend to put out there, that interchange at Sand Lake Road is about to get much worse.
  10. lacrossetribreader
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    lacrossetribreader - February 06, 2014 11:09 pm
    Like your forward thinking, Mayo. Consider a development similar to Eagle Crest which has a lengthy waiting list, but please, 55 and older, not 62.
  11. tower
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    tower - February 06, 2014 6:33 pm
  12. crank
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    crank - February 06, 2014 5:32 pm
    Must be why they suck in La Crosse.
  13. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 06, 2014 4:05 pm
    La Crosse doesn't have any "Roundabouts". They have 2 or 3 "Traffic Circles". They are not the same thing.
  14. Tomkraj
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    Tomkraj - February 06, 2014 3:47 pm
    In the 1950s and 60s that bluff was known as Richard's Peak. Climbed it many a time.I hope it does not get destroyed.
  15. common-cents
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    common-cents - February 06, 2014 12:45 pm
    That's great more untaxed property. Hold onto your wallets Onalaska.
  16. crank
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    crank - February 06, 2014 12:44 pm
    I'm with you, Dogg. I thank my lucky stars every time I read this newspaper that I do not live in the City of La Crosse.

    That aside, the site Mayo purchased has great access to major highways and the cool new roundabout on Sand Lake Rd. La Crosse's roundabouts suck!
  17. crank
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    crank - February 06, 2014 12:38 pm
    A generous of the parcel they built is the side of a bluff and unusable. Only the sliver that borders Sand Lake Rd. is useful/buildable.
  18. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 06, 2014 10:16 am
    Where could the get 200 Acres in La Crosse?
  19. Major Dogg
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    Major Dogg - February 06, 2014 9:57 am
    Gee, I wonder why they didn't do it in La Crosse?
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