Hearing on Christ Medical Center expansion postponed
BY BOB RAKOW Correspondent July 14, 2012 12:00AM
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:54AM
A public hearing scheduled for Monday to consider a zoning change that would allow Christ Hospital and Medical Center to build a nine-story patient tower on Kostner Avenue in Oak Lawn has been postponed.
Hospital officials on Friday asked to reschedule the hearing before the village’s planning and development commission to a date yet to be determined, village manager Larry Deetjen said.
The request came one day after hospital and village officials received the results of an impact study on how the expansion would affect both the surrounding residential community and village services, such as police, fire and public works.
Residents who live near the hospital campus have concerns about the expansion, including traffic, security and flooding.
Deetjen would not discuss details of the report, conducted by an independent firm chosen by the village and approved and paid by the hospital.
The hospital initially was opposed to the study.
“I asked them back in May to please conduct an impact study,” planning and zoning chairman Steve Radice said.
Monday’s postponement is the latest in a series of delays in the approval process. Planning and zoning commission members in June voted to postpone one hearing, saying the hospital had answered fewer than half of the village’s questions about the project.
The hospital needs the village’s endorsement in order to submit its expansion plan to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board for approval. The hospital has nine petitions before the planning and zoning commission related to height, setback and easement variations.
The patient tower is the second phase of the hospital’s $600 million expansion plan, which also includes construction of an ambulatory pavilion, parking and expansion of Hope Children’s Hospital.
The tower would be built on the site of an existing parking garage and will include an expanded emergency room and 14 operating rooms. A parking tower would be built across the street and connected to the patient tower via a pedestrian bridge.
The hospital’s plan calls for ground to be broken on the patient tower later this year and work to be completed in early 2015.
Doubling the size of the emergency room would reduce the number of hours during which the hospital is forced to divert patients to other hospitals due to lack of beds. In 2011, the emergency department was closed for 1,100 hours, hospital president Ken Lukhard said.
Additional operating rooms would reduce the amount of time patients have to wait for surgical procedures, he said.
Construction of a nine-story ambulatory pavilion began in October. The addition on the northwestern edge of the campus at 95th Street and Kilbourn Avenue will contain outpatient clinics, operating suites for outpatient procedures, labs, advanced imaging technology and space for the women’s center and three of the campus’ institutes — cancer, heart and vascular, and neurosciences.