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Busy year for McHenry County businesses

Published: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Centegra Health System cleared two major hurdles this year in its efforts to build a hospital in Huntley. The hospital is projected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area and have a nearly $200 million economic impact.

Centegra first announced plans to build the $233 million hospital in December 2010. It had expected to start construction in October. But the project was delayed, in part, by a lawsuit from competitors Mercy Health System, Advocate and Sherman Health.

The lawsuit sought to overturn a state board's July 2012 approval of the Huntley project. The state's health facilities board had previously rejected Centegra's plan twice. The three competitors contended the state approval should be reversed because Department of Public Health staff concluded the proposal did not meet three of the state’s 20 standards. However, in November, a Will County judge sided with the state board, ruling the project will meet a future need in an area continuing to grow. Mercy and Advocate, which merged this summer with Sherman, plan to appeal. The appeal process could take up to 10 months, but shouldn't interfer with construction plans, Centegra officials said.

In December, the Huntley Village Board unanimously approved the final design for the five-story, 128-bed hospital. Construction likely will begin in March.

The project is the largest infrastructure investment in Huntley's history. Centegra has estimated the project will create 800 construction jobs and it expects to hire 1,000 employees to staff the hospital. The local economic impact from the construction, salaries and the purchase of medical equipment and furnishings is estimated at $197 million.