Hospital’s Largest-Ever Expansion on Schedule: MMC’s $80M expansion includes family birth center; surgical, heart and cancer projects

Munson Medical Center’s $80 million expansion remains on schedule.

The hospital’s largest-ever expansion features the $36 million Family Birth and Children’s Center (FBC), which will stretch across Sixth Street between the main hospital and the Cowell Family Cancer Center. To accommodate the new center, Sixth Street will be removed between Beaumont Place and Madison Street and routed approximately 200 feet to the north.

“We have to do some re-routing of utilities that set us back a bit, but we hope to have that portion of the project done before the snow flies,” said Steve Tongue, Munson’s vice president of facilities and support services, who has 25 years in health care experience and came to Munson 13 years ago from Alpena.

Rendering of the north addition expansions, which include the Family Birth and Children’s Center in addition to the surgical services addition Munson is doing now.

With the expansion, the hospital will be able to both modernize and consolidate its women’s and children’s services into a single facility, similar to the way Munson was able to consolidate its cardiovascular services into the Webber Heart Center and its oncology care into the Cowell Family Cancer Center

Munson’s neonatal intensive care unit will expand from 2,700 square feet to 15,500 square feet, changing the design from an open-floor unit to single-family private and semi-private rooms. It will also allow Munson’s maternity and neonatal units to be located closer together, instead of at opposite ends of the hospital.

The project also includes $44 million in surgical, heart and cancer service projects, including the construction of four new operating rooms, a build out of the central sterilization unit and update of medical and surgical beds. The hospital is working toward a goal of having all private beds, according to Tongue. Currently it’s about 60 percent private beds. “The surgery addition should be fully operational in 2021,” said Tongue. “It will add four more operating rooms, so we’ll have 21 in ’21.”

Munson plans to purchase a third robotic surgical unit – a daVinci Surgical System – used to perform complex, minimally invasive surgeries, and a permanent Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner. The hospital now uses a mobile PET scanner to monitor tissue and organ functionality and locate diseases in patients.

A key early component of the expansion was the construction of a new three-story parking deck which was opened late in 2018. At the corner of Sixth and Elmwood streets, the deck provides 500 covered parking spaces for visitors of hospital patients.

After completion of the surgery center next year, the hospital will focus on the seven-story Family Birth and Children’s Center. There may be “overlap” between the two projects that could allow Munson to complete its expansion in three years instead of four, according to Tongue.

In the meantime, Munson officials are dealing with rising costs, said Tongue. “We’re seeing inflation in areas that are significantly higher than we budgeted for,” said Tongue. “Supply and demand are pushing costs higher – at least 10 percent – partly in overall costs and in mechanical systems … It’s probably a national trend.”

The hospital is addressing inflation through fundraising, said Des Worthington, Munson Healthcare’s chief development officer.“We are in the middle of fundraising, we are in campaign mode,” said Worthington. “Our five-year comprehensive campaign goal is to raise $36 million by the end of next year. We are raising dollars to support $95 million worth of strategic projects at Munson Medical Center (beyond and) including the Family Birth and Children’s Center and surgery expansion. Other projects include the Heart Center, Cancer Center, Munson Manor and hospice.”

Worthington notes that the health care organization is facing a difficult funding situation. “The challenges are huge; really big,” she said. “We have to do our homework and earn the right to ask.”

Just over $8 million has been raised for the new Family Birth and Children Children’s Center with a goal of raising $10 million by the end of 2020. For the surgery expansion, Munson has raised about $250,000, with a goal of raising $3 million by the end of next year.

“Our lead donor is the Carls Foundation,” said Worthington. “They committed $3 million for the FBC. The Hattie Hannah Keeney fund has given $1 million for FBC.”

In September of 2018, Munson relocated some of its administrative offices to the north end of the newly redeveloped Building 58, near the corner of Gray and Red drives in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Approximately 100 Munson Healthcare employees work in information services, legal services, benefits and compensation, payroll, corporate communications and physician services and recruitment. They are housed in offices on two floors of the building. Once a huge Traverse City State Hospital warehouse with kitchen equipment and coolers, the building also houses The Lofts at 58, a 25,000 square-foot, three-story residential wing housing 24 condominiums.

To learn more about the hospital’s projects and fundraising efforts, visit