Huntley, Centegra meet to plan new hospital for first time

HUNTLEY – Village officials are eager to hear from Centegra Health System executives about why they want to move their $233 million hospital off the original location of Haligus and Reed roads in Huntley.

The two sides meet later this week for the first planning meeting since a state board gave Centegra the green light last summer to build the five-story, 128-bed hospital in the growing area of Huntley.

Centegra’s relocation decision is a minor one, since the hospital still will be built in the area of Haligus and Reed roads. The move would locate the hospital toward the middle of Centegra’s Health Bridge and ambulatory care mall, near Algonquin Road, a half mile south of the original intersection.

But the village still has a stake in the planning for the new hospital, and officials want a clear understanding of any changes to designs as Centegra accelerates planning in the coming months for a potential October groundbreaking.

“This is the largest, single building project in the history of the village,” Village Manager Dave Johnson said. “So it’s important that the lines of communication are clear from the beginning.”

Village staff, trustees and Plan Commission members are looking forward to hearing the “rationale” behind the relocation of the hospital toward Centegra’s existing facilities in Huntley, Johnson said.

Officials also want to discuss traffic patterns and parking inside what now is being called Huntley’s Centegra Health Campus.

The village meets with Centegra inside Village Hall on Thursday, after the heavy snowfall last week postponed the original meeting.

Mike Eesley, Centegra’s chief executive officer; Susan Milford, senior vice president for strategy and development; and other executives are scheduled to address both the Village Board and Plan Commission.

The $233 million project should create 1,100 permanent and 800 construction jobs. Centegra’s third hospital should be fully operational by winter 2016.

The decision to move the facility away from Haligus and Reed roads also has created an opportunity for the Huntley Park District.

The village and Centegra are in initial talks to have that space turned into soccer fields for the park district, district Executive Director Thom Palmer said.

Palmer said the district’s soccer field space around Tomaso Park and other areas have seen more demand in recent years, increasing the need for more space.

As for the early design changes, Huntley’s top village administrator is fine with the hospital moving closer to Centegra’s existing buildings.

“It creates a stronger campus-type setting, sets the building farther away from existing residents, and it is intended to create a better experience for Centegra patients,” Johnson said.

Residents also will have a chance to give their opinions on the new hospital. Centegra and the village have planned informational meetings Feb. 19 and March 6 for residents interested in learning more about the project.

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