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posted: 3/6/2012 5:02 PM

Lutheran Home plans construction in Arlington Heights

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Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights plans to add a rehabilitation wing to its existing three-story nursing home as part of a renovation that also includes a new parking lot and lowers the total number of rooms in the health care pavilion from 252 to 240, officials said.

The institution has submitted a formal application to the village and recently made an informal appearance before the Arlington Heights Design Commission. It's also planning a private meeting for neighbors, including those living at the adjacent Luther Village, and plans to be on the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board's agenda in June for a hearing about the necessity for the project.

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Lutheran Life Communities would like to start construction in the fall and expects it will take three years, said Randy Bremhorst, project principal with Wisconsin-based Hoffman Corporation, a planning, design and construction company.

In October scores of residents, staff and supporters of Lutheran Home and Luther Village attended a village board meeting to say the institution would be damaged competitively if Transitional Care Management were allowed to build a 120-bed rehabilitation facility at 1200 North Arlington Heights Road.

One theme in favor of the TCM building was that younger people do not like being in traditional nursing homes while rehabilitating from surgeries. The TCM project on the site of a former AT&T facility ultimately was approved.

The existing Lutheran Home health care pavilion houses both rehabilitation and long-term nursing home patients, said Jim Holbrook, senior vice president of corporate operations for Lutheran Life Communities. The 252-room pavilion, which was built in the 1970s, will have 162 rooms after the remodeling, which includes replacing infrastructure such as plumbing and giving each room a private bath.

Bremhorst said the 78-room Lutheran rehabilitation center has been in the works for four years and is not a reaction to the TCM project.

People involved with the Lutheran Home project say the modernization is designed to meet the desires of a new generation of patients.

Lutheran Life Communities, which owns Lutheran Home, has agreed to requests from the village and neighbors and reduced the height of the addition to 40 feet and increased its setback from the property line near Oakton Street and Kennicott Avenue, said Charles Witherington-Perkins, director of planning for Arlington Heights.

The new parking lot is on the east side of the campus in a field that has been designated as future parking for 20 years, said Bremhorst. It will be used mostly by employees, he said.

Luther Village resident Audrey Beauvais said her home is close to the green space that will become a parking lot, and that would hurt the value of her property and that of her neighbors.

Neighbors and the village have been pushing for increased parking because so many employees park on the street, Holbrook said.

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