The Ladysmith Common Council took action late Tuesday to agree to enter into an option with Marshfield Clinic Health Systems Hospitals to purchase the former Mount Senario College athletic fields, another step toward developing a new $35 million medical complex in the area.

Marshfield Clinic has been seeking a site for a new hospital since acquiring the former Rusk County Memorial Hospital last August.

Details of the option to purchase were not made available.

The option will allow Marshfield Clinic to perform “due diligence” exploration of the property. During the option period they could find something they don’t like and never proceed with purchase.

City officials have been meeting in closed session for the last few weeks to consider entering into an option to purchase which would involve the sale of city-owned property.

City officials deferred comments to hospital officials, who could not be reached.

The land is along the south side of Port Arthur Road, west of Wis. 27 and Walmart.

The Health System currently in Ladysmith has a clinic that offers walk-in care, family medicine and specialty care, a dental center and a physical therapy center.

The Rusk County Board in August 2017 approved a Letter of Intent, and in February 2018 approved a Definitive Agreement that established terms to affiliate Rusk County Memorial Hospital and the Clinic at Riverside with Marshfield Clinic Health System. As part of the agreement, a new hospital will be built in Rusk County.

Marshfield Clinic has agreed to purchase land to construct a new hospital, medical office building and ambulatory and acute care service facility within the county. At this time no definitive location has been determined for the facility.

The agreement authorizes Marshfield Clinic to invest not more than $35 million in the acquisition of land, construction and furnishing of the new hospital. The clinic will pay a minimum of $400,000 per year in lease payments to the county for rent of the current building.

The agreement to purchase RCMH comes after months of active negotiations between the county and Marshfield Clinic  Health System. A Letter of Intent with MCHS followed an in-depth study identifying future opportunities to grow and sustain a viable critical access hospital with local health care services.

Answering a request for proposals were Sacred Heart and MCHS. Marshfield Clinic was selected as the sole partner to move forward with a non-binding Letter of Intent.

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