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Lake Forest aldermen approve new hospital campus plan

The redevelopment expansiNorthwestern Lake Forest Hospital city's west side is track begconstructi2015 patient move-mid-2017 officials said. | File

The redevelopment and expansion of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital on the city's west side is on track to begin construction in 2015 and patient move-in in mid-2017, officials said. | File

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Updated: March 3, 2014 12:27PM

The Lake Forest City Council unanimously approved the overall site plan and architectural design of a new hospital and medical offices, ending an 18-month process Tuesday night, Jan. 21.

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

In their vote, the city’s eight aldermen, including 3rd Ward Ald. Stanford Tack, a medical doctor, also approved the exterior lighting plan and the landscape concepts plan recommended by the Plan Commission in December 2013.

Director of Community Development Cathy Czerniak pointed to specific measures taken on open space, traffic circulation and building height, all lingering areas of public concern.

The final plan, she said, includes “no build” areas surrounding the campus, including setbacks ranging from 75 feet on the north along Westmoreland Road, 250 feet on the west bordering Waukegan Road and 200 feet on south adjacent to the residential area.

As a result of Tuesday night’s approval, City Manager Bob Kiely will enter into a “declaration of open space which would further identify the perimeter areas as permanent open space,” Czerniak said.

On traffic circulation, enhanced east-west access to the campus from Waukegan Road and Route 41 will pull traffic away from Deerpath to the south. A direct connection from the center of the campus, where the new building will be located, to Route 41 was opened in November 2013 and is expected to support the majority of construction traffic.

Czerniak said city engineers will work with the hospital team “to minimize any impact on Lake Forest Place residents.”

The height of the crescent-shaped pavilions, also of major concern during the past 18 months, will fall below the 81-foot maximum previously set by the City Council.

“Each portion of the hospital is lower than what was originally approved,” Czerniak said.

Mayor Donald Schoenheider termed the resulting plan created by the city manager’s hospital advisory committee, city staff and hospital planners an “extraordinary” end-result.

“To have this type of project and this type of world-class healthcare in the Lake Forest community, we’re incredibly fortunate,” Schoenheider said.

Third Ward Ald. Jack Reisenberg, who made the motion to approve the plan, said he “couldn’t be happier.”

“Tremendous job,” Reisenberg said. “Far exceeded my expectations. Job well done.”

Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital President Tom McAfee said the “first-class” facility will serve generations to come.

“We’ve been in this community for 115 years, and I can tell you that this will make sure that this hospital continues to serve our healthcare needs and advance Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in the future,” McAfee said.

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