The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 8, 2014

Mayo plans for expansion of Mankato campus

Mankato campus expansion plan released

By Tim Krohn
tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com

---- — MANKATO — Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato has unveiled an updated master plan for its Mankato campus that will guide its development during the next 10 to 20 years.

While no specific buildings have been approved by Mayo or been submitted for city review, the plan envisions major expansion, both up and out, including a new private bed tower and rooftop helipad, specialty clinic expansion, surgery support and endoscopy renovations, parking ramp, and an educational and ambulatory health building.

Kevin Burns, director of public affairs, said many of the hoped for construction plans continue to follow changes in health care as well as the growth of Mankato as a regional health center.

"We need to continue to change the way people receive care," Burns said. "More and more, it's keeping people out of a hospital setting and even a clinic setting."

That's why more space for specialty care and educational and ambulatory care is included. Burns said the aim is to focus more on educating and working with people on areas such as handling their diabetes or having healthy pregnancies.

"It's all designed to have people engaged in their health care and more importantly to keep them out of health care facilities."

He said that while no funding has been approved for any construction at this time, Mayo wanted to update its vision for the community.

"We want to be good partners with the city and be good neighbors."

The health system submitted an amended master campus plan to the city last week.

Over the years the health system has purchased homes around its campus to make room for expansion, which in recent years has included a new emergency department, cancer center, ambulance garage, new loading dock and receiving building and construction of shelled-in space for future expansion.

Mayo hopes to eventually buy the remaining homes in the block bound by East Main Street, Oaklawn Avenue, Mulberry Street and Garden Boulevard. Mayo already owns eight of the 16 homes on the block and is in negotiations with two additional owners. Burns said they do not actively work to buy private homes but will negotiate with homeowners if they approach Mayo.

Mayo is asking the city to give it a rental license so it can, at least in the short term, rent the homes it buys and those it already owns in the area. Mayo currently can't rent the homes without city permission and can't use the homes as office space because they are now zoned for residential use.

Mayo said that if it is allowed to rent homes, it would target incoming Mayo providers and executives and single families as tenants.

If Mayo purchases the remaining homes in the area, it hopes to reconfigure the main entrance off Main Street and add walking paths and green space around the campus.

On its plan, Mayo numbered the proposed projects in the order it wants to do them, starting with the bed tower, then surgery support and endoscopy renovations, followed by a parking ramp and a building expansion and lastly the educational and ambulatory care building.

The city's Site Plan Review Committee will look at the amended master plan at its meeting 1 p.m. Tuesday.