Silver Cross Plans Replacement Hospital by Tollway
Silver Cross Hospital plans a replacement hospital at the intersection of U.S. Route 6 and the soon-to-be-opened I-355 extension, three short miles from its current campus, to ensure it can continue its mission of providing health care to all area residents for the next century. An urgent care facility will remain on the current campus to serve the community along with redevelopment that could include a supermarket or other concepts that will create jobs and tax revenue for the city.
Silver Cross President and CEO Paul Pawlak said the decision to build a replacement hospital came after 18 months of deliberations considering every option to improve the current facilities. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved construction of a $400 million, 600,000 square foot replacement hospital in nearby New Lenox.
“Silver Cross Hospital has been here for more than 100 years – and we plan on being here at least 100 more,” said Silver Cross Hospital Board of Directors Chairperson Connie Curran, RN, FAAN. “After thorough study, we’ve concluded that the only way to ensure we can provide the highest quality, personalized health care to the people of Joliet and the entire region is to build a replacement facility that is modern and designed for today’s technology. Modification of our current campus would be extremely difficult and not deliver the best solution to meet the growing needs of the community.”
Silver Cross Hospital is the only community hospital in the Chicago area to be named a Solucient 100 Top Hospitals National Award Winner for three consecutive years. The new facility will be designed to ensure Silver Cross achieves the same level of excellence for generations to come. If approved by state regulators, highlights would include:
- An enhanced partnership with Children’s Memorial Hospital, bringing increased pediatric expertise to Will County.
- Private, larger, family-friendly rooms to improve care with more personalized treatment.
- Rooms built to accommodate today’s medical technology to reduce unnecessary transfers, the risk of infection and injury.
- More efficient environment that reduces wait times. Easier way-finding for visitors and patients.
If approved by the State, Pawlak says Silver Cross Hospital and its construction manager will encourage the participation of small, minority-owned businesses and will host workshops for local businesses who wish to bid for contracts. Silver Cross will also work with East Side community leaders to sponsor job fairs and apprenticeships to help area residents who are interested in construction jobs.
The Board’s approval was contingent on Silver Cross’ addressing the economic impact by developing a reuse plan for the current 50-acre campus. Real estate experts developed seven different job-creating, tax revenue-generating concepts for review by Joliet city officials and community leaders.
The replacement hospital project and campus redevelopment would directly create nearly 1,000 jobs in construction; healthcare and, depending on the redevelopment concept chosen, new retail or other service jobs. Hundreds more jobs would be created by the ripple effect of the construction and growth at both sites. A major boost to Joliet and taxpayers would be the return of the once tax-exempt hospital campus to generate millions of dollars in property and sales tax revenue.
The development scenarios proposed to Joliet city leaders by Silver Cross include:
- Supermarket-anchored retail center with Community Health/Urgent Care Center, similar to the key recommendation of the East Side Study Group Report.
- Mixed-use retail and residential lifestyle center, including an urgent care facility.
- Senior residential and recreational community center complete with an urgent care center.
- College campus and Center of Learning with urgent care.
- An urgent care facility complemented by medical office buildings
- County municipal office park with urgent care services.
- A community center, city park with an urgent care facility.
The Board also asked Silver Cross to ensure the replacement hospital would improve access to health care for the poor. Pawlak said their exhaustive review concluded the best way to meet the mission of all current and future patients, especially the poor and uninsured, was to build the replacement facility.
“As always, we remain committed to our roots, and we intend on being a partner with the community in redeveloping our current campus to begin a new chapter for the residents of Joliet’s East Side,” Pawlak continued. “We’ll continue all of our community initiatives to increase access to health care in Joliet and Will County and we will expand those efforts to improve the health of our community.”
If the plan receives state approval, construction on the Silver Cross replacement hospital will begin the summer of 2008 and will open early 2012. Updates will be available at www.silvercross.org.