MADISON, Wis. — SSM Health announced Tuesday that they have started work on their South Madison Campus project to prepare the area for the start of construction later this month.

Madison leaders approved the project in March.

The new clinic will be five-stories tall and 180,000 square feet. The facility will offer primary care and services like imaging, a lab and a pharmacy. There will also be specialty programs like oncology and orthopedics, which were moved from South Madison a decade ago.

According to a news release, the group’s contractor began demolishing the 16 vacant homes that sat on the construction site a few weeks ago. Once the homes are fully demolished, contractors will start to excavate the foundations to prepare for construction.

SSM Health officials said they coordinated with the Dane County Bomb Team to use the abandoned homes to help train officers for unique emergency situations before they were destroyed. The Madison Police Department also used the homes for K-9 team training.

Many materials were salvaged and recycled, including two full cabinet sets and 15 doors. Another company salvaged hardwood flooring, trim, doors, ornamental metal registers and grates and several other bits of hardware.

SSM’s contracting group, Findorff, will pour the foundation in mid-to-late June, officials said. Construction of the building’s steel frame will start later in the summer.