Epic is getting ready to build again – this time adding offices that evoke taking a trip on the high seas or solving a mystery for employees as they work.
Planning documents for Phase 2 of the Storybook campus – also known as Campus 5 – indicate the buildings will be called “Mystery” and “Castaway.” Other buildings in the campus also have individual external visual themes, such as Alice, Oz, Chocolate Factory and Grimm, recalling well-known works or authors of fantasy fiction. The campus’s fifth building, Jules Verne, is still under construction.
According to the project description, the two buildings each will consist of approximately 90,000 square feet and 350 additional offices at the company’s 900-acre location on Verona’s west side. As of spring 2019, the medical records giant employed 9,800 employees, according to reporting by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The project description states that the Jules Verne building, based around books by Verne including Around the World in 80 Days and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea, will eventually be connected to the Mystery building via a skyway. It also stated that the company plans to start Mystery’s construction in 2020. Like the majority of the buildings at Epic, the Mystery building will be constructed on top of an existing campus parking structure.
Epic plans to begin Castaway’s construction in 2021.
Construction timelines will depend on when the projects are approved by the city. Never since the original deal to bring Epic to Verona was made in 2002 has a city decision delayed approval of an Epic office building.
In addition to the initial review of the project development plan, the commission will consider whether to recommend allowing Epic to consolidate 23 parcels into one parcel and two outlots (plot of undeveloped land), which are all contained on the company’s existing property.
The buildings keep with Epic’s tradition of limiting the number of offices in any one building to 350 and the number of floors to three. Its first campus limited that number to about 300 per building, and its second campus put 1,800 in four buildings, but the 13 buildings approved since then and the two proposed have all kept to 350 or fewer.
This would be the first campus to exceed five buildings.
Mystery, located east of Jules Verne, and Castaway, east of Oz, would both be behind the large earthen berm the company constructed at the request of neighbors to block the campus from the neighborhoods to the south and east.
Castaway has a mostly metal and wood facade with a Tudor look, but several elements suggesting a large ship, including a crow’s nest, masts, an exterior ladder and a helm.
The plans for Mystery show a facade made mostly of brick, copper and stone, evoking a Gothic Revival style.
The challenge in creating buildings, Epic staff told the Press last year, is making sure the scale of the building can be done in such a way that the look of the buildings is natural with its design.
Some of Epic’s other campuses have architectural features imitating other types of buildings, real or literary.
The Farm Campus, on its far south end, has three buildings known as Barn, Shed and Stable. Its Wizards Academy Campus contains five buildings that resemble buildings in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories, including Great Hall, Library and Observatory, and the Storybook Campus features include the Alice building, which has one area designed to look like an upside-down home from “Alice in Wonderland.”
Employees have a say in the new construction, as they’re allowed to submit suggestions for the themes of the new buildings.