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Mercyhealth presents preliminary hospital design to Crystal Lake officials

In-depth presentation, public hearing set for Jan. 3

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mercyhealth officials formally introduced the preliminary design of a small hospital slated for the southeast corner of Route 31 and Three Oaks Road during a meeting Wednesday night.

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission held the first of at least two meetings it will have about the new hospital, which received a certificate of need in June from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The approval from the state board allowed Mercyhealth to finally proceed with the project 13 years after the group’s first attempt to bring a hospital to Crystal Lake.

The discussion Wednesday was brief, with the commission voting to bring back the item for a detailed presentation and discussion – as well as a public hearing – on Jan. 3.

The commission typically holds two meetings, the second one being a public hearing, for projects of this nature.

The new hospital will bring about 500 construction jobs and 150 health care jobs to Crystal Lake, Mercyhealth Vice President of Government Relations Jennifer Hall said.

She said a team of architects and engineers will be present Jan. 3 for a more in-depth presentation.

In its current form, the small hospital design includes 111,346 square feet of space to house 13 medical-surgical beds, two intensive-care beds, a comprehensive emergency room, two operating rooms, full-service radiological imaging, a laboratory and a pharmacy. The 39,922-square-foot office building, which would be connected to the hospital, will have 42 examination rooms.

But a possible point of contention emerged from Wednesday’s meeting.

Organization officials who spoke at the meeting said Mercyhealth is concerned that the city is considering putting a road through the property that would extend Tek Drive to the east across Route 31 and connect it with a dead-end road on the east side of the hospital’s property.

Mercyhealth will supply the commission with the results of a traffic study at the Jan. 3 meeting to predict the effect the hospital would have on traffic flow through the area.

The potential layout of roads through the hospital’s 17-acre property – and the city’s plan for Tek Drive – likely will be discussed Jan. 3, based on comments made Wednesday night.

According to city documents, the city is preparing for a possible future traffic signal at the Tek Drive and Route 31 intersection.

“To accommodate this, Raymond Drive would need to be realigned between Tek Drive and the north leg of Central Park Drive,” the agenda for the Wednesday meeting said. “Right of way across this area in Mercy’s site is being required, as reflected in the conditions of approval.”

Officials also will have to work on the location of a helipad, which is proposed for the northeast corner of the site. That spot is about 700 feet from an adjacent residential home. The helipad will need to be relocated to comply with the city’s approval criteria.

Mercyhealth’s competitors, Advocate Health Care and Centegra Health System – which opened Centegra Hospital – Huntley in August 2016 – both opposed Mercyhealth’s plan for a Crystal Lake hospital and insisted that no benefit would come from opening it.

In August 2017, Centegra Health System officials asked a judge to toss out the state board’s decision to grant a permit for Mercyhealth’s hospital.

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