Hospital project moving along

Oak Lawn Board expected to approve Phase 2 next week

By Laura Bollin

The skeleton of what will be a new outpatient pavilion at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn is complete, a sign the first phase of the hospital’s $600 million expansion project is progressing.

The nine-story outpatient pavilion on the corner of 95th Street and Kilbourn Avenue will allow the hospital to accept more outpatients and inpatients, rather than have to send them to other hospitals, according to Advocate Christ officials. The pavilion is expected to open by the end of 2013.

Outpatient care services — from doctor’s appointments to small outpatient procedures — are scattered all over the hospital, and space at the main hospital building could be used for more inpatient care, officials said. The pavilion will also allow Christ to centralize its outpatient care services. As medicine continues to evolve, more and more people will be opting for procedures done on an outpatient basis rather than be admitted to the hospital, officials said. The hospital sees about 350,000 outpatients a year.

The 308,334-square-foot pavilion will cost $202 million to build, and will feature 14 operating suites and the hospital’s vascular, heart and neurosciences institutes. A six-level, 640-space parking garage will be located directly across Kilbourn Avenue, and will be connected to the pavilion by a pedestrian bridge.

The very top beam of the pavilion was blessed and then signed by more than 100 hospital employees at a special ceremony last month as a means to commemorate the frame’s completion.

Plans for Phase 2 of the overhaul — a nine story patient tower that will include an expanded emergency room and additional operating rooms — is expected to be approved by the Oak Lawn Village Board on Sept. 11. The plan also needs to be approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, an action that is expected to be taken in October, hospital officials said. Construction on the nine-story patient tower is expected to be completed within the next four years.