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Area hospitals ready to begin expansions

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Franklin Ave
Construction crews from Stark Excavating begin tearing out a portion of Franklin Avenue in September to make way for an addition to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal. (The Pantagraph/LORI ANN COOK-NEISLER)

Mothers and their newborns will soon have new, modern hospital accommodations in the Twin Cities.

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington will begin construction this year on additions that will feature space for new birthing centers.

The two projects are among a number of hospital expansions and construction projects in Central Illinois that picked up steam in 2009.

Work to ready the site at Advocate BroMenn for its $67.3 million expansion project is under way with the demolition of the parking garage west of the hospital. The multi-story, 130,000-square feet addition will include a critical care unit and a mother/baby unit.

"Our current rooms are small and outdated," said Dan Cooper, Advocate BroMenn's director of project planning and development. "The new units will have a more family friendly feel to them."

The ICU unit will include a more centralized nurses' station to allow staff to better monitor critical care patients, Cooper said. Meanwhile, the mother/baby unit will include rooms better designed for the birthing process from labor and delivery to postpartum care.

Advocate BroMenn's addition should be completed by the end of 2012.

Construction on St. Joseph's $17.3 million expansion could be started in April, said Vice President for Hospital Operations Larry Wills. A state review board gave OSF the OK for the expansion in October 2009.

The 27,000-square foot addition will modernize the Bloomington hospital's mother/baby unit, a unit that was last updated 15 years ago.

"The way we do deliveries has changed so much that we can't make the needed alterations to our existing rooms," Wills said.

Rooms at St. Joseph also will accommodate the entire birthing process. Construction will take about 14 months.

The renovation also calls for alterations at the front entrance. "It will make it a little more modern and more indicative of the state-of-the-art care patients will receive from our hospital," Wills said.

Also in 2009, construction began on a new, $50 million Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln. The 116,000-square-foot hospital is expected to be completed late this year.

It is being built on 58 acres west of the business loop of Interstate 55 and will replace the 55-year-old landlocked hospital near downtown. Plans for the current building remain undetermined.

The new hospital will be paid for with $9 million from a "Preserve the Mission" fundraising campaign and other hospital resources, combined with $41 million in low-interest bonds.

At the end of 2009, Hopedale Medical Complex also embarked on a $20 million hospital expansion and renovation project. The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved the project in January.

If the hospital succeeds with arranging financing, ground could be broken in May on a 40,000-square-foot addition to be built south of the existing hospital. The plan also calls for the renovation of 10,000 square feet in a part of the hospital built in the 1960s.

The project could be completed in late 2011 or early 2012. Eventually, the 1955 hospital building will be torn down, according to the plans.

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