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Sunday March 29, 2015
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Renewing St. Joe's



Once the North Tower opens, the hard hats will move over to what's now called the "Legacy" tower--the remaining portion of the 1977 hospital--and begin tearing it down to make room for a new main entrance. The entrance will open directly into the atrium, which in turn is right next to the new, 140-seat chapel that's on track to open by Easter.

The entire replacement hospital is budgeted at $294 million. The North Tower and the remaining unfinished projects--the demolition, chapel, and new entrance--account for $115 million of that.

Tocco's unruffled demeanor fits perfectly into St. Joe's carefully controlled public persona. It's only when new buildings open that patients get a glimpse of the careful planning and focused effort that have driven its growth. But it surely helps Tocco stay calm that he expects the entire project to be done next year--within budget, and well ahead of schedule.

A deep recession wasn't in the master plan. Like other hospitals, St. Joe's was already under pressure to contain costs, pressure its staff has felt in minimal pay raises in recent years. Then, as the economy worsened, it announced this past May that it would eliminate the equivalent of 120 full-time positions in Ann Arbor.

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