Mayo Clinic unveils $5B, 6-year renovation of its flagship Rochester campus

This week Mayo Clinic pulled back the curtain on a $5 billion, six-year plan to overhaul its flagship campus located in downtown Rochester, Minnesota.

In a Tuesday press release and news conference, the 160-year-old nonprofit outlined an update that includes five new buildings spanning 2.4 million square feet with “future-oriented design elements” and digital capabilities. These include two new clinical buildings at the campus’ center and a new logistics center, as well as a pair of patient parking ramps, above and below ground connections between buildings and other related infrastructure and utilities.

“As part of our Bold. Forward. strategy, we have a once-in-three generations opportunity to redefine the future of healthcare," Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, said in the announcement. "Bold. Forward. Unbound. in Rochester will enable transformation by blurring the lines across hospital, clinic and digital care to help our teams anticipate our patients' needs, accelerate more cures and greater connections to our patients." 

A critical component of the new design centers around “neighborhoods.” Rather than shuffle patients between floors or even buildings for cross-department care, Mayo wants to cluster a range of services that are common to specific conditions within closer proximity.

The so-called neighborhoods, backboned by digital capabilities incorporated into their construction, will “challenge traditionally separate concepts of inpatient care and outpatient care” by building “continuous care environments that will serve as patients’ homes while they are at Mayo Clinic,” the system said.

Amy Williams, M.D., executive dean of practice for Mayo Clinic, said that the approach puts “everything a patient needs, including labs, imaging, consultations and treatments, near each other in unified care neighborhoods, which both streamlines the patient experience and better supports our team-based care model." 

Other highlights of the project include “unique architectural elements and spaces” that “will support hope and healing through nature, sunlight” and horizontal and vertical connections between the neighborhoods, Mayo said. The buildings have also been designed to support future construction, such as the addition of new stories.

The new logistics buildings, meanwhile, will allow Mayo to leverage “innovative technologies like robotics, automation, predictive analytics and other solutions to ensure that care teams always have the right resources at the right time,” the organization said.

Mayo said it is already engaged in preparatory work such as surveying and traffic studies with the City of Rochester, neighboring properties and the communities. “More significant construction” is slated to begin in 2024, Mayo said, with a goal of limited facility openings “as early as 2028” and full completion by 2030.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who attended Tuesday’s press conference, threw his support behind the expansion that his office said is estimated to support 6,000 new jobs and generate an additional $2 billion in economic output.

“Minnesota has long been an internationally recognized hub for academic medicine, research and cutting-edge medical technology. Now, Mayo Clinic is making a multi-billion dollar investment to build on that foundation,” he said in a statement. “I applaud Mayo Clinic for investing in Minnesota, ushering in the next generation of health care innovation, and ensuring Minnesotans have access to the best possible services and care.”

Mayo Clinic reported $16.3 billion in revenue, a 3.7% operating margin and a $655 million decline in net assets across the entirety of 2022. It employs more than 76,000 people and has already launched expansion projects among major campuses in Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Mayo reportedly intends to fund the expansion with its own revenue sources and will not be seeking government funds for the project. Still, the organization has already leveraged its local investments to influence policy within the state of Minnesota.

Earlier this year, the nonprofit threatened to redirect a yet-unrevealed multi-billion dollar Rochester expansion should a bill introducing nurse-to-patient staffing ratios be passed by the state’s legislature and Governor Walz. A revised version of the Nurse and Patient Safety Act ultimately kept several other nursing-related provisions but nixed the staffing ratio, to the disappointment of the bill’s sponsors and the Minnesota Nurses Association.

“The work that we have been doing to keep nurses [and] patients focused on this legislation really got subsumed by a fight among corporate entities—Mayo and the other corporate hospitals—and it essentially dominated and replaced the debate we’ve been having about nursing and patient safety,” Mary Turner, president of the nurses’ group, said at the time. “And that is unfortunate.”