McLaren breaks ground on new hospital wing

McLaren Northern Michigan has always held a special place in Jim Offield’s heart.

“I think it’s (hospital) in our genes,” Offield said. “My grandfather was on the board of directors here, my father was on the board, my nephew’s son was born here last year, my brother’s leukemia was diagnosed here.”

It’s also a place that ultimately saved Offield’s life last year, after he suffered two renal failures in Italy before returning to Northern Michigan where Dr. Louis Cannon and his staff were able to operate and insert two stents to save his kidneys.

“I live in this town and in this community and to have this hospital as an anchor and to have this type of health care in a small community really means a lot to me,” Offield said. “It makes living here that much better.”

Offield and his family were on hand Wednesday afternoon as McLaren Northern Michigan conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new wing to be constructed at the hospital.

David Zechman, president and CEO of McLaren Northern Michigan, announced during the groundbreaking the new wing will be named the Offield Pavilion in honor of Jim Offield and his major donation to the project.

Offield is the lead donor and part of more than $23 million in capital which has already been raised for the expansion and renovation project.

The goal is to raise a minimum of $33 million to support the $175 million project which is expected to be completed in 2022.

“These donors are very smart and successful people,” Zechman said. “They’re not going to give anything of their hard earned wealth if a project they feel is going to fail. They have great faith in the doctors here, great faith in the nurses, hospital staff, management and our board.

“We’re really proud of what we’re doing and we believe this project will build the future of health care in Northern Michigan.”

The expansion and renovation project, which is entitled “Building the Future of Health Care,” is part of McLaren Northern Michigan’s long-range strategic plan that aims to transform care in a number of ways.

Once completed, the Offield Pavilion and renovations to the hospital will increase patient comfort and privacy, improve patients’ and visitors’ experience through inviting waiting rooms and improved wayfinding, enhance physician and staff workflow and efficiency as well as aid in the ability to recruit the top physicians, nurses and clinicians.

The new 170,000 square foot wing named in honor of Offield will house 92 private rooms, new and expanded Intensive Care and Cardiovascular Units, and a new surgery suite featuring larger and technologically advanced operating rooms.

Renovated space will include converting current dual-occupancy patient rooms to private rooms, with the ability to flex back to double occupancy as needed.

“There’s been a ton of work put in by the hospital, designers and architects,” Zechman said. “There’s a lot of detail work, we have three executives on it, managers and staff. We have a full gamut of people who are working on this every day.”

Offield said Wednesday’s groundbreaking was a special day for everyone in Petoskey.

“Ninety-two private patient rooms, it’s pretty impressive,” Offield said.

Patrick Schulte, vice president and chief development officer at McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation, said the expansion and renovation project goes back in some form at least 10-15 years.

“It’s been worked on and strategized by the leadership of the hospital and the board for those years and over the last two or three years it’s been preparing for this day,” Schulte said. “A big part of that is certainly the financing to make it happen. Health care has changed so much that it becomes a challenge to fit that into the priorities, but for us it goes to our strategic planning efforts and our priorities for the 22 counties that we serve.

“We’re drawing throughout Northern Michigan and the eastern U.P. that equates for roughly 430,000,” Schulte added. “Our center here in Petoskey is so critical.”

Schulte also said because McLaren Northern Michigan is a nonprofit hospital, they have the ability of allowing the community to be a part of the project.

“The real story is not only putting the shovel in the ground, but it’s also launching the public phase of our capital campaign to raise money,” Schulte said. “We’ve raised more than $23 million toward the initial goal of $33 million largely because of our lead beneficiary and lead campaign chair Jim Offield. That’s a significant thing, we’re two-thirds of the way there.”

McLaren Northern Michigan will kick off its public capital campaign from 3-7 p.m. today, Friday, at Pennsylvania Park with family and child-friendly activities on the lawn. The celebration will include an inflatable large-scale, interactive, educational model of the human heart, bounce houses, sun-safety and CPR educational booths, and prizes.

Offield believes the expansion and renovation project will feed upon itself and the hospital will continue to grow once people see the new wing.

“We’ll have a first-class facility,” Offield said. “For a small hospital we have some of the best doctors you’ll ever see. We have doctors come up here for the clean water, clean air, the good schools and they have an incredibly good working environment, some of the best machines and equipment, and it’s a great place to raise you family and receive health care.

“Our family is exceptionally proud to have our name associated with this hospital and very proud to support this community at this level.”