Larry Bell has seen hospitals from just about every professional angle, working in finance, administration and construction.
But one of the things that makes him proudest about the new 280,000-square-foot wing that will open next month at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield is that it doesn't look or feel like a medical facility.
What: Winfield Run and Community Day
When: 5K and 10K starts 8 a.m., Community Day start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 17
Where: Central DuPage Hospital, 25 N. Winfield Road
Who: 5K, 10K runs sponsored by Winfield Historical Society, Community Day held by CDH
Cost: $25 registration before July 15, $30 after. $15 for runners 11 and under; Community Day is free
Info: Register at Winfield Park District, www.signmeup.com or www.active.com; Community Day includes visits from Bears greats Otis Wilson, Dan Hampton and Gary Fencik; music, food, local artwork on display, and walking tour of new CDH patient pavilion
Early 2005: Discovery phase; officials tour other site
Mid 2005: Planning and design work begins
March 20, 2007: Certificate of need submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health
June 2007 through February 2008: Mock-ups of patient rooms reviewed by staff
Oct. 23, 2007: IDPH approves the certificate application
April 2009: Groundbreaking on patient pavilion
July 17: Community Day for residents to preview the new wing
Aug. 7: Patient Move Day
"Much of the objective, aside from being functional and giving good patient care, is so that people don't feel like they are in a hospital," the CDH vice president of construction told the Daily Herald during a private tour. "We want to give them a relaxing place ... an upscale hotel (feel)."
The anchor-shaped patient pavilion will open Sunday, Aug. 7, pending a review by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and will pick up much of the surgical and medical facilities of the 47-year-old hospital. The hospital will host a Community Day starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 17, immediately following the Winfield Run 5K and 10K, to give area residents a preview of the wing.
It contains 202 private patient rooms, six ambulance bays and amenities that do indeed seem more suitable for a hotel than a hospital.
"The main reason is to get people in private rooms so they have the dignity of being there," Bell said. "You won't have to worry about disturbing another patient in the room. It's a wholesome, healing environment for that."
Each room will be stocked with a 42-inch flat-screen, high-definition television, as well as a smaller, 32-inch flat screen for visitors. A sleep sofa and recliner will be available and even privacy has gone high-tech.
The doors have "piano hinges," which block off any view of a patient's bed when the door is open. Additionally, small "piezoelectric" windows allow nurses and doctors to peek into a patient's room briefly or for a 30-second period.
Design and work on the pavilion began in 2005, with an April 2009 groundbreaking. Officials embarked on the $210 million project concurrently with another modernization, this one of the pediatric facilities.
To get ideas for the pavilion, officials toured hospitals across the country and started working the most intriguing aspects into plans for the new wing. While they waited for approval from state agencies, hospital staff were provided with mock-ups of the rooms.
Spokeswoman Amy Jo Steinbruecker said getting staff feedback was only natural.
"They are the ones spending the most time in the rooms," she said. "They were integral in the process."
Bell said the purpose of that feedback was to get it "as right as possible."
The final layout of the rooms, with bathrooms in the back corner and the bed near the front hidden by the piano hinges, was a direct result of those discussions.
"A lot of it is to reduce or eliminate any fear or anxiety that people will have coming into a hospital both as a patient and a visitor," Bell said.
Even the artwork at the new building took a lot of preparation and research. The pavilion has more than 600 unique pieces of art that Bell said will put some people at ease, while also giving patients and visitors something to look at or investigate during their stay.
Bell conceded that a patient sitting with an intravenous needle injected into his arm will not forget he is in a hospital. But he hopes the new amenities can make the stay a little easier.
"We're not going to fool anybody, but we want to make it as relaxing as possible," he said.