APPLETON - Construction crews are digging deep at an area hospital.
St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton is expanding and renovating its campus.
A large drilling rig is boring its way nearly eight stories below the surface. Crews have been clearing the way for 137 concrete support cylinders called caissons.
"They go all the way down to the bedrock, and provide a very stable foundation for the new building," said Jeff Deitschel, Oscar J. Boldt Construction Company project manager.
"We can bring the caissons drill rigs into the picture," said one worker.
A 3-D image provided by Boldt construction shows the scale of the project.
"We need this amount of structural stability to keep the building from vibrating and shifting, and you definitely don't want that in a hospital environment," said Deitschel.
When complete, the $108 million expansion will stand five stories tall.
"This is the big part, this is the beginning of our new bed tower, our expanded imaging area, it's 90 new beds, much broader intensive care unit capacity, higher-end imaging, x-ray type equipment," said Travis Andersen, St. Elizabeth Hospital president.
The construction is actually phase four, in a ten-year campus renovation project. The hospital president says St. Elizabeth is committed to the community.
"We're setting the stage for decades to come, the next 40 years. We just see this being a stable and important asset in our community," said Andersen.
Crews should be finished with caissons next week. The project manager says weather-permitting, walls could be going up on this site in a couple weeks.
"So as we pour the concrete footings and foundations, a mechanical drain-tile system will go in as well. Then we'll start to bring the building vertical," said Deitschel.
Crews say the construction could be completed by the end of next year.
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