In a sure sign of optimism for the future, Medtronic will break new ground today in Lafayette, Colorado.
“Given what we've all been through – and I think it’s probably going to take a little bit of time for us to figure out what we've all been through, you know – but I think building a new building at this time is optimistic, and what I enjoy about this is bringing people back together. Bring scientists back together, bringing physicians from around the world to this campus in Colorado, being able to work together in this way," Brett Wall, EVP and president of the neuroscience portfolio at Medtronic, told MD+DI. "I kind of like our chances, because it's at the end of what’s been a really tough thing for a lot of people, and still is a tough thing for a lot of people, but I'm optimistic about the future, and so I think this is an optimistic exercise, but we feel good about being optimistic as we move forward here coming out of the pandemic, and getting new therapies and technologies out to patients around the world."
The new campus is intended to unite employees from Medtronic's Boulder, CO and Louisville, CO facilities onto one campus. The company's manufacturing operations currently at the Boulder and Louisville campuses will remain there.
Developed in partnership with Ryan Companies, the Lafayette, CO campus will span 42 acres with 23 developable acres. Anticipated to be complete with staff moving in during the second half of 2022, the plan includes 400,000 square feet in two five-story connected buildings, which will host 1,100 employees. Campus employee benefits include a full-service cafeteria with indoor and outdoor seating, fitness center, outdoor open spaces, areas for team activities, indoor and outdoor bicycle parking, a 0.75 mile recreation loop, and access to trails and public transportation.
The building designs feature reduced water and irrigation use, solar parking canopies, electric vehicle charging stations, pollinator gardens, energy efficient building systems, occupancy sensors, and LED lighting. The site will be equipped with ventilation, filtration, and air distribution systems capable of 100% outside air economizing to bring in outdoor air, and fully automated and programmable air handles.
Colorado is the home of Medtronic's neuronavigation business, which Wall describes as "a GPS for the brain and spine." The technologies developed within the neuronavigation business are designed to allow neurosurgeons or spine surgeons to, in any orientation, merge the images that are coming from other imaging modalities like MRI's for better visualization of the structures in the body.
"So when you think about doing surgeries ... you want to really understand where you are in relation to the major structures in the body," Wall said. "You might have a clear trajectory to one point in the brain or the spine, but you realize, 'if I take that trajectory I'm gonna go through some significant material, I don't want to do that, so we're going to re-route it and we're going to find a different way to do it and get there safely.' And this allows you to do that in real time."
Wall said Colorado was attractive to the company for the opportunity presented, given that the neuronavigation business has been in the portfolio a long time and Medtronic plans to continue growing that business there.
"And as you look around, it’s a pretty great place to live," he said.
In addition to the neuronavigation business at the Boulder, CO campus, Medtronic also has its broader enabling technology group that works on spinal robotics, managing different surgical instruments from Colorado.
"So really everything that enables a surgeon to do the procedures that they do with the spine and the brain comes out of here," Wall said.
He added that the company's patient monitoring business is also there, and he noted how impactful that part of the portfolio was during COVID-19. There are also other technologies related to general laparoscopic surgery, so there will be a lot of technology coming together at the new campus.