HUNTLEY – The blustery winter hasn't deterred Centegra Health System from starting construction on its $233 million Huntley hospital project that has already encountered various obstacles in the past three years.
The ground is frozen with roughly three feet of frost along Centegra's Huntley campus near Haligus and Algonquin roads.
But crews from Schaumburg-based Power Construction have started the 30-month construction process, doing initial site work and reconfiguring parking around Centegra's Health Bridge facility.
The company even brought ground thawing equipment to cut through the frost and start digging the foundation of the future five-story, 128-bed hospital, located near the center of the Huntley campus.
"It takes you from planning to reality," said Susan Milford, senior vice president of strategy and development. "Our team has been with this through the whole process. We are feeling a lot of joy to get to this point."
With initial construction underway, Huntley residents and motorists along Algonquin Road should start seeing a budding hospital by the fall.
Hospital designs include plans for an eight-bed intensive care unit, full service emergency department, a dedicated women's center and a helipad for transporting critically injured patients.
Barring unforeseen construction delays, Centegra should treat its first patients at the Huntley hospital by fall 2016.
Power Construction is building the hospital, while Milwaukee-based Hammes Company is overseeing the entire project. The company previously worked with Centegra on its outpatient facilities near its Woodstock and McHenry campuses.
But the moment of seeing crews build Centegra's third hospital in McHenry County seemed in doubt at times since late 2010, when Centegra officials approached a state board with their plan.
The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board rejected Centegra's Huntley hospital plan twice, before reversing course in summer 2012 and approving the plan without explanation.
The state board's change-of-heart vote prompted Centegra's competitors – Mercy Health System, Advocate Health Care and Sherman Health – to file a lawsuit later that summer that sought to overturn the decision.
The ongoing legal fight forced Centegra officials to delay their initial October 2013 groundbreaking plans for the new hospital.
Centegra still continued to work through the design and permit process with Huntley officials before a Will County judge in late 2013 sided with the state board and allowed the project to continue.
The rival health care providers have since filed an appeal, but Centegra expects a positive outcome on the appeal by the end of the year, Milford said.
As construction intensifies in the coming months, area residents will be able to watch the progress via a camera feed displayed on Centegra's website.
The health care system hasn't yet launched the online feature. Officials, meanwhile, are finalizing the details of a summertime groundbreaking ceremony catered to the public.
"It's not going to be a dignitary-type event," Milford said. "We truly believe this hospital is for the community, and we want them to be involved and excited."