1A Mayo healing takes on a tropical twist

By Jeff Hansel

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Early in the morning, the bright sun already feels warm.

A crow caws from somewhere in the palm trees above as the sound of a fountain can be heard in the background.

Mayo Clinic has created a healing environment with a tropical flavor here. The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville opened one week ago.


Mayo is particularly proud that the $254.6 million cost came from community donations and the sale of St. Luke’s Hospital, which itself was donated to Mayo. Mayo employees in Jacksonville donated $1.7 million of the cost; Mayo Minnesota employees also pitched in.

"This is the first major project in Mayo’s history where we paid for it from the ground up, rather than having to go to Mayo’s piggy bank, so to speak," said Dr. George Bartley, Jacksonville chief executive officer.

Mayo in Jacksonville provides 9 percent of Mayo Clinic’s revenue annually, according to the organization’s annual report. It pumps $1.1 billion into the Florida economy.

More than 10,000 people visited during two open houses a week ago, and they saw some of the latest in hospital design. Here are some striking aspects of the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville:

  •  Patient safety: The hospital was designed with patient safety in mind, with 10-foot-wide hallways to accommodate patients carts and people, oversized operating rooms, and flat-screen televisions in patient rooms for use in educating patients.
  •  Hurricane proof: The Mayo hospital is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, which carries 155 mph winds. Nine hundred concrete pillars were sunk 120 feet into the ground to provide secure footing, said Cliff Romme, chair of the Department of Support Services. Windows on the building are designed to withstand strikes from 2-by-4s traveling at 150 mph.
  • Commute: The 214-bed facility is at the same site as Mayo’s outpatient clinic, meaning staff don’t have to commute back and forth to the clinic’s former hospital. That hospital was 10 miles away in a city with heavy traffic throughout the day. The commute could take a half hour to 45 minutes each way.
  • Chihuly: The Jacksonville Mayo Clinic Hospital has its own Dale Chihuly sculpture, just like the Rochester campus. From the ceiling of the first floor hangs the glass sculpture radiating bright yellows, greens, blues and reds. It mimics giant, colorful flowers instead of the slightly more-abstract style of the yellow-and-green work in Rochester’s Gonda lobby, but both have the eye-catching Chihuly style.

"It’s a focal point. When you come in the front door you’ll see that," Bartley said.

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