Plan Commission OKs Rush emergency room

State-of-the-art facility one step closer to approval

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Rush Oak Park Hospital is one step closer to construction of its new emergency room with the unanimous approval last week from the Oak Park Plan Commission.

The proposal, which now must win approval from the full Oak Park village board, would construct a 1 1/2-story, 55,000-square-foot structure at the corner of Madison Street and Maple Avenue with a roughly 21,000-square-foot emergency department.

The new structure would replace the 50-year-old Oak Park Hospital Medical Arts Building, "a five-story structure which has been vacant for approximately two years and was built primarily as a nursing school dormitory," according to the plan application.

Robert Spadoni, Rush Oak Park vice president for operations told the commission that the current emergency room facility is treating more than three times as many patients as it did 20 years ago.

"When Rush became affiliated with Rush Oak Park back in 1997, the number of (emergency room) visits a year were about 11,000 to 12,000, and this year we're on track to do about 37,000 in the same space," Spadoni said.

He noted that 17 "bays", which are emergency room areas cordoned off with curtains, will be replaced with 21 "actual rooms" with sliding glass doors. The structure also will include two isolation rooms, two behavioral health rooms and a room for treatment of sexual abuse patients. 

David Mikos, of Anderson Mikos Architects, said the new design would allow more efficient entry to the emergency department. 

"If you've gone there and ever taken your family there, the ambulance bay and the drop-off for us pedestrian types are all in the same place, so if there's an ambulance blocking the way, you can't get mom there or you can't get there yourself," Mikos said, adding that in an emergency situation "seconds count."

The drop-off area for the new facility is off Maple and Madison, Mikos said. 

The Plan Commission will approve its "findings of fact" document on the project at its upcoming meeting set for Sept. 21 at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. The proposal will then be sent to the Oak Park Board of Trustees for consideration.

Rush has completed demolition of the old nursing dorm building and hopes to start construction of the new ER this fall if possible.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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