Developers planning $40 million health and wellness campus in Wausau

Developers are planning a $40 million health and wellness campus in downtown Wausau, centered around an expansion of the local Woodson YMCA.

Plans released this week cover an expansion and revitalization of the YMCA’s facilities, a new senior center with planned educational, social and recreational activities, and a new Aspirus Clinic to be connected to the YMCA through a skywalk.

Aspirus is providing much of the funding for a new field house, containing a running track and gymnasium. The Aspirus board has approved the construction, though design plans have yet to completed. Once finished, the clinic will provide primary and walk-in care, as well as imaging and lab services.

Matthew Heywood, president and CEO of Aspirus, says the clinic will be about 36,000 square feet and will cost about $20 million.

The 15,000-square-foot senior center will be directly connected to the Woodson YMCA, and is fully funded by a grant from the Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation, per a release from Aspirus.

The Woodson YMCA Foundation is still gathering funding for the YMCA modernization and expansion, and earlier this week launched a six-week campaign called Strengthening the Heart of Our Community. The total cost of this YMCA initiative is $19 million, and the Aspirus release says “many foundations and individuals” have already pledged $16 million of that number.

If the foundation can raise the final $3 million, the YMCA project will expand the gymnastics area, increase parking and alter traffic flow, and create a new wellness center offering various athletic activities.

Chad Kane, president of the Woodson YMCA Foundation and WoodTrust Bank, says he’s “confident we can meet our total goal with the help of our Y members and other donors.”

The demolition and site clearing has begun, but some details for a planned health and wellness center are unknown as approval is still needed to make some changes to streets.

Project renderings feature external branding for both Aspirus and the YMCA on the interconnected buildings. The proposed YMCA addition would expand the building toward the First United Methodist Church across the street, and the connected Aspirus clinic would be surrounded by a new parking lot.

Kane says the campus will cater to residents of all ages whether they’re sick, healthy or somewhere in between.

“This is an innovative model for community wellness,” he said.

See the renderings here: 

–By Alex Moe