Coon Rapids will get its first skyway

Coon Rapids will soon have its first skyway.

Architect’s rendering of the proposed skyway looking west from Coon Rapids Boulevard that will link Mercy Hospital with the medical building now under construction on the north side of the boulevard. Source: city of Coon Rapids

Architect’s rendering of the proposed skyway looking west from Coon Rapids Boulevard that will link Mercy Hospital with the medical building now under construction on the north side of the boulevard. Source: city of Coon Rapids

The Coon Rapids City Council May 7 will consider a site plan for construction of a skyway over Coon Rapids Boulevard to connect Mercy Hospital with the new Allina medical building now under construction on the north side of the boulevard.

The Coon Rapids Planning Commission April 18 recommended approval of the site plan following a public hearing.

All being well, construction on the skyway will begin in July and be completed in time for the planned opening of the medical building in February 2014, according to David Moga, project manager for Pope Architects, Inc., the architect for both the medical building and skyway.

“Construction on the medical building is moving along,” Moga said.

“Despite the extended winter, the project is on schedule.”

At the time the medical building project was approved by the council in August 2012, Allina was considering a skyway link to the hospital, but did not include it with that site plan application.

According to Coon Rapids Planner Scott Harlicker, the skyway will connect the south side of the medical office building at the southeast corner with the north side of the hospital near the main entrance.

“The skyway will extend 300 feet from the south side of the office building across Coon Rapids Boulevard, it will then run 160 feet parallel to the south side of Coon Rapids Boulevard and then 80 feet south into the hospital,” Harlicker wrote in a report to the commission.

A small addition will be constructed by the main hospital entrance for the skyway connection, he said.”

“People walking the skyway will get plenty of exercise,” Harlicker said.

There will be 18 feet of clearance between the bottom of the skyway and Coon Rapids Boulevard.

According to Harlicker, project applicant Frauenshuh Healthcare, a Minneapolis-based company that develops, finances and leases medical office buildings, has been working closely with the Anoka County Highway Department – Coon Rapids Boulevard is a county highway – to respond to its concerns.

A condition of site plan approval is that all Anoka County comments be addressed, Harlicker wrote in his report to the commission.

“We anticipate its approval of the project,” he wrote.

According to Moga, Anoka County is currently reviewing the skyway plans.

“But we don’t foresee any issues,” Moga said.

The exterior of the skyway will be a mix of gray, red and beige architectural metal panels and glass windows, Harlicker told the commission.

The supports will be concrete covered with a gray architectural metal panel; the bottom four feet will be exposed aggregate, he wrote in his report.

According to Harlicker, the existing monument at the hospital sign will be removed and incorporated into the design of the support pillars adjacent to the hospital.

“The skyway will provide a safe and climate controlled connection between the hospital and the office building,” Harlicker said.

Mercy Specialty Center will be a 120,000 square-foot, multi-specialty medical building.

The four-story building has a $22 million price tag and is being paid for by Allina Health, of which Mercy is a part.

The building will house the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute – Mercy Hospital, specialty care, outpatient surgery and obstetrics/women’s care services.

Features of the building include a drop-off entrance, plenty of parking, hands-free entrances, extra-wide corridors, elevators and suite entrances.

A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health (formerly Allina Hospitals & Clinics) has more than 90 clinics, 11 hospitals and health care services, including home care, hospice and palliative care, oxygen and medical equipment, pharmacies and emergency medical transportation.

Go to www.allinahealth.org for more information.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

  • Ethan

    I think this is a great idea, but man, that is going to be a long walk. Next time you’re driving next to the hospital, just try to visually imagine this walk way in your head.

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