After years of preparation, I am honored to say that Centegra is moving forward with our Centegra Hospital-Huntley project for all of you -- our community. The project was just the second hospital in 30 years to receive approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, and we are proud to be the health system that will bring enhanced health care services to the people of southern McHenry and northern Kane counties.
Centegra Hospital-Huntley received more than 16,000 letters of support from community members and businesses. Hundreds of patients, business representatives and community leaders spoke at hearings to support the project. It was truly a community effort to receive approval for the new hospital, and we sincerely thank you.
We have for years responsibly planned for the growth in southern McHenry County. We recruited new physicians and opened an outpatient health center and Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center on land previously owned by Tom Halat. Before we filed the application and throughout the process, we were always mindful of state planning standards. We believe this new hospital is the right way to improve access to care in a community we have served for almost 100 years.
Now we move forward. We are pursuing final engineering and design approvals and in the foreseeable future we will break ground. It will take about a year to complete engineering, design and to obtain permits. We anticipate seeing our first patients in 2016 and plan to employ 1,100 area residents. We encourage you to follow our progress at centegrahospitalhuntley.org.
This hospital project was the right project in the right location at the right time, and the state's approval verified its support. Congratulations to all area residents and to our thousands of community supporters.
Michael S. Eesley, CEO
Centegra Health System