Epic expansion

Three new office buildings and an underground parking ramp are proposed at Epic Systems Corp.'s Verona headquarters in the foreground of this aerial photo. Two of the buildings would be nestled just south of the larger stand of trees, center, while the third building will sit to the left of the retention pond, between the trees and a mixed-fruit orchard. Epic Lane runs along the bottom of the photo; Milky Way curves up into Epic's campus at the left; and Northern Lights is the road at the right.

Epic Systems Corp. is moving ahead with plans for another set of office buildings on its rural Verona campus.

The third office cluster, nicknamed the Farm Campus, will add 900 offices and will be built at the south end of the campus. It will sit in fields between Epic Lane, the road that guides motorists to the company's headquarters from Highway 18/151, and Milky Way, the stretch that curls up a hill to the Epic galaxy.

Two buildings would occupy part of a cornfield, nestled in front of a grove of hardwood trees. A third building, connected by an overhead walkway, would sit beside an orchard of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees that Epic has planted.

The exteriors will look more like farm buildings than regular office buildings, and may have barn siding instead of brick, said Stephen Dickmann, Epic's chief administrative officer. "We might even have a silo, for all I know," he added.

At least 700 stalls of underground parking will be built next to the two buildings at a site that is currently a soccer field. When the parking is in, the soccer field would be rebuilt above it, said Dickmann.

Epic has 5,200 employees — up from 4,300 in May — with no end to the hiring in sight. "We'll probably be in the neighborhood of 6,000 by the end of 2012," he said.

The company develops electronic medical record software, an industry that is projected to grow more than 12 percent a year, topping $8.3 billion by 2016, according to Millennium Research Group of Toronto, Canada.

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Epic's revenues for 2011 are expected to reach about $1.1 billion, spokeswoman Barb Hernandez said, up from $825 million in 2010.

Epic's campus already includes nine office buildings, a cafeteria building, a learning campus and two parking structures. A new auditorium designed to seat more than 11,000 people is just starting construction, scheduled for completion in summer 2013, and a field of solar panels is expected to be fully operational next spring.

If approved by the Verona City Council, construction of the new office buildings and parking ramp will start in the first quarter of 2012 and be complete by mid-2013, Dickmann said.

Epic does not disclose the cost of its projects, but Verona city administrator Bill Burns estimated the price at $75 million.

The project was presented to the Verona Plan Commission this week and drew "positive response" along with questions about traffic, Burns said. A vote is set for the commission's Dec. 5 meeting.

"We're very excited to see the proposal and to see that Epic's continuing to do well and expand. We look forward to working with them," Burns said.

And there's more to come. Dickmann said another project could begin in late 2012. "We're looking at options on that," he said.

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