Cook County Announces Plans for New Central Campus Health Center

This month Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System released the proposal for construction of the new Central Campus Health Center, a new state-of-the-art outpatient facility that will adjoin John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.

The new facility will help the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) improve the delivery of care for its patients and consolidate many functions now housed in three buildings that have passed their useful lives.

“Building this new ambulatory care facility is more than replacing old buildings,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “It is a transformative centerpiece for system-wide operational and programmatic reform.  It will enable the health system to offer a modern patient experience that is competitive in contemporary healthcare markets for years to come by providing facilities that match the first-rate care already available through the health system.”

“Health systems across the country, including ours, are increasingly focused on providing more outpatient ‘health’ care and reducing the need for costly inpatient ‘sick’ care,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCHHS. “The new Central Campus Health Center will allow us to provide patients the care they need to get and stay well in a more efficient and patient-centered manner.”

Highlights of the new Central Campus Health Center include:

  • A new nine-story 282,000-square-foot building that will consolidate many of the services in the Fantus Health Center (built in 1959), the current administration building on Polk Street (which was built in 1931), and the Hektoen Administration Building (built in 1964). Altogether, these old buildings comprise about 680,000 square feet of real estate.
  • The Central Campus Health Center will allow CCHHS to improve and expand outpatient services, reduce operating costs, improve patients’ experience, and increase clinical and administrative efficiency. CCHHS sees more than 100,000 unique patients through over 550,000 clinic visits annually on the central campus, demonstrating the need for more clinically efficient and upgraded Central Campus Health Center.
  • The new building will also allow the County to avoid costly capital renewals for the outdated and inefficient buildings. Deferred maintenance on the old buildings, according to a U.S. Equities study from 2013, was estimated to be $125M ($128M in inflation-adjusted costs today), greater than the amount to be spent on the new building.
  • Much-needed surface parking for the CCHHS campus will be added on the current Fantus site once the clinics are moved into the new facility and Fantus is demolished. The Board last October approved a development team for the project headed by Clayco, which has been at work on Phase One programming and schematic design for the construction project. The Board’s action followed an extensive Request for Proposals process that began in November 2014.

The building will dramatically reduce the County’s real estate footprint with a new, efficient building by decommissioning three buildings that are outdated and operationally inefficient.

The construction proposal will be introduced at the April 13 Board of Commissioners meeting and then referred to the Board’s Finance Committee. Once approved by the Cook County Board, the development team will shift to Phase Two implementation of the health center project that consists of finalizing design and construction for the clinical and office spaces in the new facility.

The proposal would authorize a contract extension and budget for the development team of $108.5M.  The total project budget of $118.5 million includes about $10 million in “soft” costs often associated with large capital projects, such as consultants, legal fees, contingencies and financial analysis.

Groundbreaking is anticipated for the first quarter of 2017 contingent upon all necessary regulatory rules and approvals, including the Illinois Facilities and Services Review Board. Completion of the new building is anticipated in mid-2018.

Project construction will meet the County’s MBE/WBE, local hiring and prevailing wage requirements and/or goals.  The development team will work closely with the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership on outreach and training, with a focus on local hiring.