Lurie Children's Hospital proposes $51 million expansion

- Lurie Children’s Hospital hopes to increase the number of intensive-care beds by nearly 50 percent at its Streeterville facility in a $51 million proposal aimed to increase critical care services, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

“They anticipated this day would come. They just didn’t think the day would come so soon,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said on Thursday, welcoming the plan.

“Our plans just moved up a year or two sooner,” agreed Brian Stahulak, Lurie’s senior vice president and chief nursing officer.

Last year, the hospital had to turn away over 100 critical care patients, according to Stahulak.

“That for us is something we can’t have,” he said.

The hospital proposes to add 44 intensive-care beds to the 92 ICU beds it already has.

As part of the expansion, Lurie also wants to add four neonatal intensive care beds to its existing 60, according to an application filed by the hospital this month with the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board. The expansion plan was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Hopkins, who said he will be briefed on the plan next week, said he will probably send a letter of support to the review board.

If approved by the state review board, the project could be completed by Jan. 31, 2019. Lurie officials said they will renovate existing space to accommodate the additional beds.

“The building was designed with nonpatient space that could be easily converted,” Hopkins said.

John Chikow, president and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association, also embraced news of the proposal Thursday.

“The capacity is in demand. . . . It’s [proposed expansion] a feather in the cap for Lurie’s,” he said.

The hospital, then known as Children’s Memorial Hospital, moved from its Lincoln Park home to 225 E. Chicago in 2012.

Years before the move, the neighborhood group Streeterville Organization of Active Residents voiced objection over the hospital’s heliport, saying it would be too unsafe and noisy in the already congested area.

Stahulak said Lurie plans to meet with SOAR and its other neighbors next month to discuss the plans and address their concerns.

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