High beams, spirits as new Silver Cross rises
Final beam put in place for Silver Cross Hospital's future home in New Lenox
October 6, 2009
NEW LENOX -- The final high beam for Silver Cross Hospital's new building was set in place Monday. Gathered to witness the topping-off ceremony, a crowd of officials applauded and toasted the event with sparkling grape juice. For one guest, the final beam placement was especially significant.
"Oh look at that -- oh my gosh," said hospital foundation board member Dorothy Brown, who watched the ceremony with her husband, LaVerne.
The Browns donated $1 million in 2002 to the existing hospital's cardiac institute, which was named for the couple. Dorothy Brown has been a member of the hospital's Childerguild for more than 50 years.
"'We're getting up there (in age)," she said. "We're very anxious to see this new hospital. We've been waiting and waiting and we know it's a couple of years off. But we know how wonderful it's going to be when it's finished."
The new $400 million, 289-bed building will allow Silver Cross to offer better patient care and customer service, said hospital President and CEO Paul Pawlak.
"And it gives us a facility that's brand new versus a facility that's 115 years old," he said.
The New Lenox campus is on the southwest corner of Interstate 355 and Route 6, 3.5 miles east of the current hospital at 1200 Maple Road (Route 6) in Joliet. The hospital's move from Joliet to New Lenox was at first controversial and opposed by Joliet officials. But Joliet dropped its opposition a few months after the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board approved the move in July 2008.
February 2012 move
During the next phase of construction, which will begin Oct. 13, the precast concrete facade will be set in place, said Jeff Janicek, construction executive with M.A. Mortenson Construction of Elk Grove Village, which is overseeing the project.
Exterior glass will be added next and the total enclosure should be in place by July.
Janicek said his company has tried to hire as many local workers as possible for the project, which will employ around 400-500 during peak construction next fall.
"With the economy, it's fantastic that the hospital has been able to fund the project," he said. "There are a lot of projects across the state and Midwest, especially in health care, that have not been able to go forward."
Construction is scheduled for completion in November 2011. The 600,000-square-foot hospital is expected to open in February 2012.
"Everything is on schedule and on budget," said Geoffrey Tryon, vice president of operations for Silver Cross. "Everything is going extremely well right now."
An adjacent two-story medical office building, called Silver Cross Health Center, opened last month. And a Center for Women's Health will open Oct. 19 in the health center. The new center will offer women digital mammography, said hospital spokeswoman Tracy Simons. An open house will be Oct. 28 at the center.
Options for the old hospital include turning a portion of it into a veterans hospital or using it as a federally qualified health center, which would serve people who are underinsured or on Medicaid, Simons said.