Rush begins work on Advanced Health Care facility
October 7, 2016

As part of its strategic vision and campus master plan, Rush University Medical Center has plans for a new comprehensive care outpatient center, and work is underway.

The $500 million Rush Center for Advanced Health Care will go up on the north side of Harrison Street east of Ashland Avenue between Ashland and Loomis Street.

Workers will demolish the existing student housing on the block. The design firm HDR will provide operational and program transformation consulting services as well as traditional architectural services. Rush also has engaged Jacobs, a professional services company, for program management oversight and staff augmentation services.

HDR has completed preliminary drawings for the facility, but Rush is not ready to unveil them to the public and instead provided an aerial view of what its campus will look like under its master plan.

“We are currently in the programming phase,” said Raymond LaBrec, associate vice president for facilities management at Rush University Medical Center. “The current projection is 550,000 square feet.”

Workers have put up fencing and are preparing the existing building for demolition, which officials expect to occur by the end of the year. “We plan to minimize any effects of demolition and construction,” said LaBrec.

Some Garibaldi Square residents to the south have expressed concern over how the project will affect where they live. Also, some local residents near and parents of Jackson Language Academy are worried about the project.

“We have begun to work with our neighbors as well as Cook County commissioners, local aldermen, the Marriott, the Illinois Medical District, and the Garibaldi Homeowners Association,” LaBrec added. “We will continue to use the same collaborative approach we used when we planned and built the tower hospital building that opened in January of 2012.”

So far, Rush representatives have met two times with the Garibaldi Square Homeowners Association and said they will continue to work closely with its members. “We discussed their concerns and how we could monitor and minimize any disruptions,” LaBrec noted, mentioning vibration, air quality, noise, and traffic.

“We do not expect to change any traffic patterns due to demolition,” he added. “Truck traffic will enter and exit the site from Congress.”

Approximately 288 Rush students were living in the housing complex scheduled for demolition. According to LaBrec, all residents have found alternate housing. In addition, Rush University has secured a bloc of apartments at Tailor Lofts Student Apartments (315 S. Peoria St.), a student housing complex located one mile east of Rush’s campus. Housing officials are accepting applications for occupancy now; all leases run 12 months.

LaBrec confirmed the State approved s a partial master design certificate of need (CON). Healthcare facilities must have an approved CON before they may expand. Rush will submit its full CON application in early 2017.

The new Rush Center for Advanced Health Care will include a parking structure and offer all medical services currently offered by Rush on an outpatient basis. In addition, the center will provide six to eight state-of-the-science operating rooms.

“The new center will transform the delivery of health care,” said LaBrec. “Services will be located in clinical neighborhoods for a very patient centered delivery of care. These neighborhoods will also enhance physicians’ and staff collaboration while supporting our educational and research missions.”

Officials expect the center to open in 2020.

— Dolly Duplantier