Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

May 8, 2012

Hill-Rom employees to benefit from new center

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — When Hill-Rom President John Greisch introduced the new Hill-Rom Center to 450 employees April 30, he was most gratified by their reaction to the environment. “The first-class professionalism put into the building has been great to see.”

The 23,000-square-foot addition right in front of the corporate building facing State Road 46 is on two levels.

The 13,000-square-foot first floor contains a spacious town hall that can either be a dining room seating 170 or an auditorium with room for 500 chairs, explained John Dickey, senior vice president of corporate services.

Five large screens can be lowered for meetings that can be carried out simultaneously in different parts of the room. Soft music played during an afternoon open house for invited citizens.

Adjoining that is a cafeteria with food stations that serve pizza to paninis, sandwiches to calzones. Last week the chef’s table area featured chicken with mango salsa, edamame and coconut rice, and Korean beef skewers were one of several menu items offered in the grill zone.

A smaller café with high-top tables and comfy chairs for 50 is closer to an adjacent  Starbucks eatery. Both the town hall and café  boast large screen LCD TVs.

Workers also can dine and chat at a courtyard patio equipped with 16 umbrella-topped tables each seating four.

The food service areas opened May 1 with weekday hours from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

“John was hugely intent on providing a place where employees could meet,” instead of being secluded in their offices, pointed out Marylou McNally, vice president of global corporate communications. By creating an atmosphere of “creativity and teamwork,” the hope is associates will “collaborate – share information and innovate, which will actually advance our enterprise.”

Dickey maintained the fresh space “is just really special.”

Thirteen who work in the cafeteria and Starbucks were hired by ARAMARK, Philadelphia. The food services, facilities management and uniform apparel firm has 255,000 employees in 22 countries.

Local manager Joel Weinzierl, Wanamaker, has been on the job a month, working on the setup and hiring. “Everyone is from around here. We have a great group.”

The lower level of 10,000 square feet contains storage space; freezers; a changing room for ARAMARK employees; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment; and a future IT area.

The 10-month-long project cost $4.8 million, according to Dickey. It took about six weeks longer than estimated to finish due to wet weather. “The rainfall was 250 percent above (usual) numbers for the first quarter.”

Behind the expansion were “wonderful companies,” he noted. Architect Blake Wagner and project manager Charles Bellinger both  work for InterDesign, Indianapolis. The construction manager was Messer Construction, Cincinnati. One local subcontractor, Ollier Masonry, Batesville, participated.

Grass  and flowers – azaleas, petunias, salvias, begonias, geraniums and roses – have been planted. Landscaping was completed internally by director of administrative services Tim Dietz and his staff, with expertise from JP Landscaping, Batesville, and The Plant Doctor, Metamora.

At the June 22, 2011,  groundbreaking, the president said, “We very much look forward to sharing this facility. It’s really going to be a community center .... At nights and weekends, I think the community will get a lot of use out of it.”  One public event has been scheduled so far, the May 19 Rural Alliance for the Arts auction.

On the other hand, at least one Hill-Rom event is slated for each workday over the next three months. For instance, a Relay for Life company fundraiser and various product displays are planned.

Morale will be lifted during Friday afternoon grillouts and Indianapolis 500-themed events.