By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Sep 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM

The dust has settled and the attractive landscaping is complete, paving the way for the East Side's new Columbia St. Mary's Hospital to open Oct. 12.

President and CEO Leo P. Brideau says they've created a hospital "different from anything else in the region ... and will make significant contributions to the way health care is delivered both locally and nationally."

Principal architect Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum designed the new hospital according to Evidence-based design, an emerging science that guides health care design to improve patient outcomes based on elements such as access to nature, patient control and stress reduction.

The results of the $417 million project are stunning.

The nine-story building includes expansive windows offering an abundance of natural light as well as panoramic views of Lake Michigan and Downtown.

Spectacular additions include an airy grand atrium facing the water and two-story family lounges. The hospital now has 312 patient beds, with a 411 on the total 22-acre campus.

The hospital's design also paid special attention to the environment, incorporating green technologies that reduce energy consumption. Two rooftop gardens, which can be viewed from patient rooms, absorb rainwater to alleviate pressure on the city's drainage system.

A computerized lighting system automatically adjusts exterior lights based on the time of day and season and all fixtures use high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs.

Additionally, 80 percent of the old building materials were recycled and 84 percent of the new building materials are recycled materials.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”