The Gardens of Epic

The Gardens of Epic

Part of Ep. 2005 Hidden Gems

Although enjoyed by over 5000 people, the gardens of Epic are actually private.  These incredible gardens, including waterfall, moat, and prairie, were created for the employees and visitors to Epic headquarters in Verona.  Makes going to work in the morning something to look forward to!

Premiere date: Jun 24, 2012

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:

This is a hidden gem that is not open to the public, so I'm very excited to be able to share it with you. We are at EPIC in Verona, and I am with the chief administrative officer Steve Dickmann. Steve, to describe EPIC it creates healthcare software, is that correct?

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely.

 

Shelley Ryan:

You're a leader, almost worldwide.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Yes, we're a homegrown Madison business moved to Verona in about 2005 and started building the campus in 2003. We're now up to about 5000 employees.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay, that's huge!

 

Steve Dickmann:

We have about two million square feet of finished space on this campus at this time. We're still building.

 

Shelley Ryan:

I can see the building behind us. About how many acres do we have right here?

 

Steve Dickmann:

We have a little over 800.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Wow, and you've devoted a lot of this acreage to gardens for your employees.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely. To us, there are three absolute key elements in design of the campus. Of course architectural, interior design and landscaping design. They all have to work; they have to work together.

 

Shelley Ryan:

These gardens are not meant to be just looked at from inside the building. They're meant to be enjoyed.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely, we have paths and walkways through. Our employees use them extensively. Our customers and visitors use them. It's meant to be a place to relax. If an employee wants to go outside and work on his or her computer, they have WiFi in the courtyards. They can plug in, and whatnot. It's a lot of fun.

 

Shelley Ryan:

I've always known that gardening is good for you, it's good for mental health. It's probably good for creativity.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Oh, absolutely. The key elements for us are comfort, creativity, variety and that results in productivity.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So, win-win for everybody.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely.

 

Shelley Ryan:

You've got too many gardens to even talk about so we'll talk about some of our favorites. I've already found one right behind us. This pond is lovely.

 

Steve Dickmann:

This is actually part of our learning campus courtyard. Our visitors like to go out here between classes relax, walk along. Everybody loves water.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh, yeah.

 

Steve Dickmann:

This gives them the ability to come to the water. There's fish in the pond. We've had ducks on the pond.

 

Shelley Ryan:

It's very serene right here, too.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely.

 

Shelley Ryan:

It looks like it's been here forever.

 

Steve Dickmann:

No, this was a parking lot until 2008.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Good job! I really like this! Again, this is just a beginning. You've got some other favorite spots to talk about.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely. Our prairie campus, we have five large office buildings and a food service building that surround that courtyard. It's about 400-500 hundred feet long, about 100 feet wide. It has a meandering stream the entire length of the courtyard. It starts with a spring and terminates in about a 15-foot waterfall.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh, wonderful.

 

Steve Dickmann:

There are different vignettes, landscaping vignettes. So, as you move down the courtyard if you like a certain type of planting or a certain time of year where the plants are just going crazy, that's where you'll be. So it's just, again, variety.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Solitude, or you can spend time with a friend and just relax.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Right.

 

Shelley Ryan:

You mentioned that you have themes in a lot of these buildings.

 

Steve Dickmann:

All of our buildings have a different interior design theme. We find that if you use the same interior design it's boring, so we use variety. We also find that it's really fun and helps break down the scale if we move the interior design theme to the exterior of the building, as well.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Into the gardens.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Yes, absolutely. So if you're walking down our central park campus you'll hit our Dungeons and Dragons Building which has a moat and drawbridge.

 

Shelley Ryan:

On the outside? How fun.

 

Steve Dickmann:

And it ties into the gardens. As you continue down the paths in that courtyard you'll find our Southwest Building. Now you think you're in Arizona with cacti and a big rattlesnake, and so forth. And as you move on to the next building which is our Asian theme building you think you're in an Asian jungle.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So you can go around any corner on this huge campus and discover a new surprise.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Absolutely.

 

Shelley Ryan:

I really hope more employers take heart from this because this just changes your whole attitude about work.

 

Steve Dickmann:

Thank you.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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