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Silver Cross Hospital to open February 2012 in New Lenox

New Lenox, IL (August 4, 2011) - Silver Cross Hospital’s new facility in New Lenox doesn’t officially open until 2012, but officials are already touting its amenities, such as private rooms with large windows and flat-screen TVs.

“We wanted this to be more of a hospitality center rather than a hospital,” said Mary Bakken, Silver Cross vice president and chief operating officer, as she stood in the lobby of the hospital Wednesday during a media tour of the facility.

The 560,000-square-foot building, which has a butterfly footprint, sits on Route 6 near Interstate 80 and Interstate 355. The $395 million building is nearly complete and will replace Silver Cross’ current location in east Joliet just three miles away. The current building was constructed in 1919 and has had about 10 additions since then. Officials have said it would have cost more to update the old building than build new.

The new hospital will hold 289 beds (up from 245 now) and be equipped throughout with wi-fi and other technology to improve patients’ experience, such as a system that allows patients to page their nurse directly.

Construction on the hospital began in September 2008, and all staff will be moved to the new location by Feb. 26. Pavilion B at the hospital, which includes among other things the Center for Women’s Health, has been open for a year and a half. The cancer center is expected to open April 1, 2012.

Bakken said research on environments that promote patient health and feedback from hospital staff informed many of their design decisions. For example, a special carpeting that makes wheelchair use easier is used in some parts of the building and each private room has large windows with controls for temperature.

“There are literally hundreds of things that we did that were based on evidence,” said Bakken, who added that the hospital worked with the Center for Health Design.

The private rooms are about 305 square feet and painted with neutral colors and nature art elements. Each room will have a flat screen TV and a sleeper sofa for family.

“These rooms are so nice that people are going to find it hard to go home,” said Geoff Tryon, Silver Cross vice president of operations.

The hospital will have a Walgreens pharmacy, cafe that will serve Starbucks products, a garden space and artwork from local artists. The emergency department will be a Level 2 facility and there will specialized programs in partnership with Children’s Memorial Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Ruth Colby, chief strategy officer and senior vice president of business development, said she expects hospital patients will increase from 16,000 to almost 20,000 in two years as a result of both growing population in Will County as well as increased capacity at the hospital. Hospital officials said they expect to hire about 50 more physicians and nurses to handle the increased demand. About 600 construction-related jobs were created as a result of the project.

A community open house is planned for Feb. 12. For more information about Silver Cross, visit www.silvercross.org.

To view a photo gallery of the hospital tour

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