Trauma center construction begins on South Side

(Rich Renomeron/Flickr)

Construction has started on a new trauma center that will serve the South Side of Chicago, which hasn't had one for 25 years.

Ground was broken Thursday on the $43 million project at University of Chicago Medicine. The new facility is expected to open in January 2018. Officials say it will let the hospital handle 25,000 more patient visits a year.

Chicago's South Side hasn't had adult trauma care since 1991 when Michael Reese Hospital in the Bronzeville neighborhood closed its trauma center.

University of Chicago Medicine President Sharon O'Keefe says the new trauma center will be 76 percent larger than the hospital's current emergency room. It will have more patient bays and four trauma resuscitation bays. The hospital's emergency department medical director says the department's flow has been redesigned to help patients faster.