Centegra Health System won final approval to build a hospital in Huntley, almost three years to the day the McHenry-based health provider announced plans to build it.
Thursday night, the Huntley village board gave Centegra's plans their blessing, a move that lets McHenry County's largest employer forge ahead with the hospital's construction and secure financing for the $233 million project, said Susan Milford, Centegra's senior vice president of strategy and development.
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"You'll probably see dirt being moved ... even as soon as February," she said.
The 128-bed hospital is expected to treat its first patients in 2016 and to employ more than 1,000 people. The facility will be built on Centegra's existing campus at Reed and Haligus roads and will offer 100 medical surgical beds, a women's center with 20 private obstetric rooms, a helipad for transporting critical patients and more.
Huntley officials have said the new hospital is another key component to bolstering the village's profile.
It has taken a long time for Centegra to reach this point.
On Dec. 20, 2010, Centegra Chief Executive Officer Michael Eesley told supporters he wanted to serve McHenry County's growing health demands by building a hospital in Huntley.
But the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, the body that approves new hospital construction, rejected Centegra's first two attempts.
When the state panel finally approved the certificate of need last year, Centegra's rivals, Mercy Health System and Advocate Health Care, filed a lawsuit against the review board to block the hospital's construction.
They argued the Huntley hospital was a waste of money, would duplicate existing services and compete with them for patients and staff, but a Will County judge dismissed that case last month.
Although construction starts in the spring, Centegra will hold a public groundbreaking ceremony in July, their way of thanking their supporters, Milford said. Efforts including writing 16,000 letters backing and testifying in support of the project at the state panel's public hearings.