UP FRONT: Regional roundup – May 2013

Posted on May 1, 2013 :: Up Front
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Highway 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Ministry/Affinity join Ascension Health

Ministry Health Care, which is a part of the Marian Health System, joined Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system in the nation. St. Louis-based Ascension Health Alliance, parent organization of Ascension Health, reached an agreement with Marian to acquire the system.

Ministry has a presence throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota with 15 hospitals, 46 clinics and nearly 12,000 employees, including in Appleton, Chilton, Oshkosh and Sturgeon Bay. Recently, Ministry Health Care assumed sole sponsorship of northeast Wisconsin’s Affinity Health System. Ministry is an integrated health care delivery system serving more than 1.1 million people across Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota.

Kaukauna redevelopment project grows

The Grand KaKalin development project along the Fox River in downtown Kaukauna is getting bigger.

The Cobblestone Hotels franchise has expressed interest in building a hotel on the former Gustman lot, north of the Veteran’s bridge near the proposed Bridgeway Cove senior housing development, according to City Planner Bob Jakel.

Second, a new floor plan was presented for the proposed public library renovation inside the historic 1800s Eagle Mill. The original floor plan concept included two additional office tenants located on the same floor as the library. The updated plan shows the public library and common space will fill the entire main floor. The upper and lower levels of the building will continue to be marketed for commercial, retail or office use.

Developer Stadtmueller & Associates is in the process of updating the lease to ensure long-term sustainability of the development.

“The growing interest in Grand KaKalin from the business community is evidence that this neighborhood will continue to attract investment, generate tax revenue and support small businesses for years to come,” says developer Randy Stadtmueller.

Timing and authorization of the projects will depend on approval of various public funding requests and approvals, he adds.

AK Pizza Crust expanding Green Bay site

AK Pizza Crust is building a 47,000-square-foot addition to its plant at 3050 Walker Drive, Green Bay.

AK Pizza Crust, which employs 300 people, produces a variety of pizza crusts and related dough products. The expansion will help the company better meet customer demand, says CEO Randy Charles.

Keller in Kaukauna is the project’s design/build general contractor. The project is expected to be complete this summer.

Green Bay buys hotel, KI expansion moves ahead

The City of Green Bay purchased the Clarion Hotel for $2.85 million to help move KI Convention Center expansion plans forward.

The hotel had been in receivership and the city hopes to eventually find a cooperative developer to take over ownership. Current managers will stay on to run the hotel until a buyer is found.

The Clarion sits across the street from the KI Center and plans call for the KI expansion to be done above Adams Street and the hotel’s meeting rooms. Construction on expanding the KI Center should begin by the end of the year.

Outagamie airport looking for new manager

Abe Weber is stepping in this month as the interim director for the Outagamie County Regional Airport following the departure of longtime manager Marty Lenss.

Lenss, who has led the airport since 2008 and spearheaded several expansion projects, including the $32.5 million public safety training facility in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College, left his post on May 1 to take a job at the Rochester International Airport in Minnesota. Lenss is from Minnesota and expressed a desire to return to his home state.

Weber is the airport’s operations and maintenance manager. He has seven years of airport experience and has degrees in aviation management and management. The county is conducting a nationwide search to replace Lenss.

FVTC begins work on Student Success Center

Another part of Fox Valley Technical College’s $66.5 million facility expansion is now under way.

Work began last month on the Student Success Center at the college’s main campus in Grand Chute. The center will provide extra study space, computer labs and lounge areas. It’s expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

This project is just one of seven that voters approved in an April 2012 referendum to update the college facilities.

» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

ThedaCare designs logo for new hospital in Shawano

ThedaCare unveiled a new symbol for the new medical construction project and the integration of health services in Shawano at one campus.

The symbol – Living Well Together – draws on artistic elements from the community. It starts with the square image of a quilt, seen on the sides of many Shawano County barns. From there, green leaf swirls are pulled from the floral designs found in Menominee beadwork patterns. The square-in-square feature is often found in Amish quilt patterns, while the blue and green colors in the symbol reflect the hues found in the area’s natural beauty.

Construction on the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, which will be adjacent to ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano on County Highway B, is expected to begin this summer. The new hospital will replace Shawano Medical Center.

» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Manitowoc company to fill turbine orders

Broadwind Energy Inc. recently won $35 million in orders for wind turbine towers that it plans to build at its Manitowoc manufacturing facility.

The order includes towers for various domestic wind power projects and will be delivered during 2013.

“The level of activity in our wind tower business remains strong and this order moves us one step closer to filling our tower capacity for 2013,” says Peter Duprey, president and CEO of Cicero, Ill.-based Broadwind Energy.

Operators of the S.S. Badger, the ferry that runs between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich., announced earlier this year plans to start ferry runs two weeks early this season to help ship wind tower structures manufactured in Manitowoc to wind farms in Michigan.

Lakeshore Technical unveils manufacturing mobile lab

Area high schools will have the opportunity to offer introductory manufacturing classes starting next school year thanks to a new Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab put together by Lakeshore Technical College.

The 340-square-foot lab is versatile, says Richard Hoerth, executive dean of manufacturing trades and agriculture at LTC.

“The key here is the ability not only to be able to be transported to other sites but also the flexibility that goes into that trailer,” he says. “We have the ability to offload equipment; bring new equipment on,” allowing the lab to be used for training in a variety of subject areas.

Available classes, which will be team taught by an LTC instructor and a teacher from the hosting high school, include introductory classes in automation, robotics, hand tools and precision measuring equipment.

Car ferry, EPA reach agreement

The S.S. Badger car ferry, which sails between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich., will be able to continue sailing for the next two

years without any big changes, according to an agreement reached between the ferry operator and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA previously announced the ferry couldn’t continue dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan following the 2012 sailing season. The ferry operator said converting immediately from coal to natural gas would be cost prohibitive and it would discontinue sailing between the new ports.

The new agreement says the Badger can continue operating as it currently does until the end of 2014. At that point, the ferry will use a new system to house the coal ash onboard and dispose of it on land. The ferry operator also agreed to pay a $25,000 fee for violating mercury pollution standards in 2012.

» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Maritime research center eyed for Marinette

A new maritime research, entrepreneurship and training facility may be coming to Marinette.

Gov. Scott Walker allocated $5 million in funding as part of the state’s capital budget proposal for the project, which is designed to support area shipbuilders including Marinette Marine Corp.

Called the Wisconsin Maritime Center of Excellence, the two-story facility would measure 24,000-square-feet. The Marinette County Association for Business & Industry has offered $6.7 million in matching funds for the project, which has an estimated price tag of $11.7 million.

The facility would be jointly managed by local businesses and education partners as well as the Marinette County Association for Business & Industry. Marinette Marine says it would like the center to open in the summer of 2014.