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‘More jobs for the Verona and Dane County area’: Epic Systems is planning another expansion

Verona approves 2,050-vehicle underground parking structure for Epic's sixth campus

Sunset setting on Epic System campus
The Epic System campus at sunset. Katie Wheeler/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of Dane County’s biggest companies is planning another expansion — on top of efforts to add two new buildings and hire an additional 1,700 new employees this year.

Epic Systems, a Verona-based health care software company that employs around 13,000 people, is developing plans for a sixth campus, and recently received city approval for a 2,050-vehicle underground parking structure to serve that campus.

Anna McCann, Epic’s public relations manager, said via email that the company will be able to share more information about its sixth campus, as well as renderings for the new buildings, in August or September.

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The underground parking structure will be four stories, and will include 41 electric vehicle charging stations, according to a site plan reviewed by the Verona Plan Commission late last month. Epic says excavation on the site is expected to start immediately, and it hopes to have the facility operational in late 2025.

Jim Schumacher, a member of Epic’s facilities team, told the plan commission that the parking structure proposal provides more spaces than it expects the sixth campus will need to accommodate future growth.

“That’s kind of the new mantra, so that we don’t have to come here and say to you, ‘We need to put temporary lots in because we can’t catch up to where we’re going,’” he said.

Documents submitted to the plan commission show Epic has steadily grown its footprint in Verona since having its first campus and corporate headquarters approved in 2003. It now has five campuses in Verona and is designing the sixth.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi told Wisconsin Public Radio in February that Epic’s continued growth has been key to helping Dane County attract and retain college graduates.

“Epic provides those high-quality tech jobs that young people are looking for, (and) we have a university that’s a great feeder system with its computer programming and other tech-related degrees,” Parisi said. “Now we’re seeing the benefits not only directly of Epic, but of spin-offs from Epic — people who are former employees who leave and start their own companies.”

Prior to seeking approval for the underground parking structure, Epic announced plans to hire 1,700 new employees and add two new buildings to its Verona campus, including 60,000 square feet of space and 700 private offices.

“We love hiring really self-motivated people that are interested in helping patients and interested in working hard in doing that,” said Karsten Smith, director of health plan applications for Epic.

Smith said the company develops software that supports hospitals and clinics, but in recent years has been doing more work for long-term care facilities and to support health care outside traditional brick-and-mortar locations. That work, along with other initiatives, has helped fuel the company’s continued growth.

The company developed MyChart, an app and website used by health care systems that provides information to patients, helps schedule appointments and enables patients to ask their provider questions virtually, he said.

Epic is also working to streamline communication between insurance companies and health care providers, Smith said. Most of the time, he says, the process of getting a procedure or scan approved by an insurance company is manual and time-consuming.

“We saw an opportunity many years ago, working with some of the large national payers and a lot of our health insurance companies that are owned by hospitals and clinics to work together to say, ‘There’s a better way to do this,’” he said. “We can use data and automate a lot of our process.”

Smith said another focus has been on using artificial intelligence to help streamline clinical workflows.

“Ultimately, we want patients to have meaningful face-to-face time with their doctors, and faster responses to questions,” he said.

Verona Mayor Luke Diaz said Epic’s continued growth shows the company’s strength in the market, and that health care organizations find its software valuable.

“They’re continuing to expand — I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “More jobs for the Verona and Dane County area is good overall, and I’m happy to see them succeeding.”

Coinciding with the company’s growth, Verona’s population has more than doubled since 2000, going from around 7,000 people to 14,552 in 2022.

“There’s this really wonderful community here and a lot of people want to live here,” Diaz said. “That’s obviously the goal of any city in any community is to be a great place that people want to live, but it does come with some challenges as well.”

One of those obstacles, he said, is the state’s persistent housing shortage.

“You see the extreme rise in housing costs, and even just the difficulty in trying to buy a home in Verona,” Diaz said. “There’s been times in the market when there’s under 10 houses available, so it’s really difficult for people who want to live here.”