HUNTLEY – When Susan Milford said she wanted the community to be a part of the new $233 million hospital at the Centegra Health System campus in Huntley, she meant it in a more literal way than one would expect.
Hundreds of community members had the opportunity to become a permanent part of the future hospital Saturday by signing their names on a beam before it was raised as part of the ongoing construction of the 300,000-square-foot facility.
Centegra’s beam raising event drew hundreds of residents Saturday for a day of rock climbing, beam signing and learning about the new 128-bed hospital. It is only the second new hospital approved in Illinois in the past 30 years.
“We wanted to involve the community and we thought this would be perfect,” said Milford, senior vice president of strategy and development for Centegra. “It’s their hospital so we wanted them to participate in its building.”
The event, which was done in conjunction with Centegra’s annual Family Health Fest, also drew roughly 200 local leaders, donors, politicians and hospital administrators.
Huntley High School junior Brianna Wilder had an opportunity to address the group of VIPs and discuss the new hospital’s role in the school’s medical academy and its importance to the community.
“I think it will be awesome to have something like this closer to home,” said the aspiring medical professional. “It’s pretty cool I can be a part of this and help spread the word.”
Those who attended the beam raising event saw the hospital is on track to hit the late summer 2016 opening date as the exterior shell is taking shape. Milford said the project is about 10 percent complete and interior work would begin in the fall.
The project has created about 800 construction jobs and will require roughly 1,000 staff members and medical professionals to operate it once it opens. Chief Executive Officer Michael Eesley said staffing would be a mix of existing personnel transferring and new hires.
Once the Huntley hospital is up and running, Eesley said it would be a state-of-the-art facility in design and operations.
“It’s going to be a significant presence for women’s health. That is definitely one of the big programs,” he said. “But it will have all the services our other locations offer. People have to leave the community to get that level of care right now, so I think they are pretty excited about it being here.”
All patient rooms in the hospital will be private, with accommodations for family members including room to sleep over and the same room service the patient receives. Other features include a center for new mothers with an advanced care nursery, a dining service with freshly prepared food, and a chest pain and stroke center.
Those interested can follow construction progress live at www.centegra.org/service/construction-updates.
“We had 16,000 letters of support sent to the state,” Milford said of the outpouring of support the project has received from the beginning. “I couldn’t be happier with how it has gone. It really is the community’s hospital.”