How Epic's HQ changes the town around it

Epic is building roads and buying farmland around its rural Wisconsin headquarters as the EHR vendor constructs a new campus and welcomes loads of new employees, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Sept. 19.

Epic has altered the small town of Verona since its arrival there in 2003. The company has about 12,800 employees there, nearly matching Verona's entire population of around 14,500. Epic has another 1,200 staffers at other sites around the globe.

All those people need space, and roads to get to and from work. Road projects planned for the next couple of years in the Verona area include two new roads, widened bridges and a new interchange, according to the State Journal. Epic either pays for the roads completely before handing them over to the city or funds the design plans.

"(Epic's) projects tend to be faster because they're paying for more," Verona Mayor Luke Diaz told the newspaper. "If it has to come from the city budget, there's a process and it's slower, and if it's the kind of thing like, 'Oh, we need to pay $500,000 for design costs,' (but) Epic's paying for it, it's a lot easier to fit into the budget when it's $0."

Epic has also bought 430 acres from surrounding landowners over the past two years, more than the 340 acres it purchased to move there in the early 2000s, according to the story. Some neighbors, however, worry about environmental effects from all the construction on things like the groundwater aquifer or nearby marshland.

All that growth has brought economic benefits, with Epic paying annual taxes of about $12.3 million to the local school district, $5.5 million to the city and $3.5 million to the county, the newspaper reported. The EHR vendor, which is the county's largest private-sector employer, has developed about 510 of the 1,700 acres it owns.

In addition to the sixth campus that Epic started building this summer, it is also adding three-story office buildings to its Wizards and Storybook campuses that "would look at home in the Harry Potter series or a futuristic science fiction novel," the news outlet noted.

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