Gundersen Health System

Hammes Healthcare delivered a master facility plan that was market-based, financially oriented and responsive to Gundersen’s mission and strategic priorities. The phased plan allows Gundersen to start planning and executing their strategy immediately with clear steps over the next five years.


La Crosse, Wisconsin


  • Master Planning
  • Facility Condition Assessment
  • Site Development Planning


  • Master Facility Plan


Based in LaCrosse, Wisconsin with another large campus in Onalaska, Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System is a comprehensive non-profit health system serving Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The system includes multi-specialty group medical practices, a teaching hospital, regional community clinics, affiliate hospitals and clinics, behavioral health services, vision centers, pharmacies, and air and ground ambulances.


Gundersen identified a series of several facility projects they believed necessary to achieve their long-term growth objectives. However, having not completed a master plan in several years, they wanted to take a step back to make sure they were approaching things the right way. Their goals in completing a master plan included:

  • Maximize space on both their Onalaska and LaCrosse campuses
  • Improve physician recruitment efforts by adding additional space – Gundersen believed they could not adequately recruit physicians because they did not have enough space on campus
  • Address aging infrastructure issues
  • Improve operations/identify whether issues were facility issues or operational issues

Gundersen engaged Hammes Healthcare to provide master facility planning services for their La Crosse and Onalaska campuses. Hammes first set out to understand Gundersen’s long-term objectives to ensure the master facility plan was ultimately aligned with that broader strategy. As part of its planning process, Hammes analyzed substantial amounts of data including space utilization for Gundersen’s 750 physicians, historical volumes and volume projections by department, average patient visit times and demographics while simultaneously factoring in changing models of care. Hammes ultimately concluded that Gundersen did not suffer from a lack of space, but rather from poor space utilization.

Hammes also conducted facility condition, site, and functional assessments to evaluate Gundersen’s existing infrastructure. The assessment looked at the efficiency of site layouts, adequacy of existing space and capacity and rationale/ROI for further investment. Having been in growth mode for so many years, Gundersen had only built new facilities but never torn down old facilities. Hammes’ assessment and master plan empowered Gundersen to their strategy and physicians.

Hammes then developed site plans illustrating the phased development opportunities for both the LaCrosse and Onalaska campuses.