Hospital advances renovation plan

By Jessica Kalin

Preparations are underway for construction of a new $102 million Kishwaukee Community Hospital, pending the Illinois Health Facility Planning Board’s approval.

Russ Farnum, principal city planner, said the hospital is planning a new building near its existing location at 626 Bethany Road.

The $102 million project is still waiting on approval from the planning board before construction can begin.

Kevin Poorten, Kishwaukee Health System president and CEO, said they expect to break ground around May or June.

A new hospital is needed in order to accommodate all incoming patients, he said.

Poorten said KCH sometimes sends patients to other hospitals for care.

“Our goal is to expand programs and recruit physicians so our patients can stay on-site,” Poorten said.

A projected 27-month construction period is needed to build the new two-story, 230,000 square-foot building that will replace the existing hospital.

After looking at KCH’s choices, Poorten said a new facility was the better option instead of remodeling the smaller hospital.

“We wanted to remain locally-owned and as an independent health care system,” Poorten said.

KCH took into consideration several factors, including the current facility, demographics, current markets and the growing population of DeKalb County.

The new hospital will have 100 private rooms, in-house MRI and a new cardiology unit.

Poorten said the hospital employs more than 1,100 people; the new facility will require more help.

“As we add programs and expand services, there will be a need to add staff,” Poorten said.

The building project will be financed through cash reserves, community capital campaigns and borrowing $60 million from tax-exempt bonds.