A rendering shows Advocate Illinois Masonic's plans for a $645 million expansion that will involve renovations, new buildings and some demolitions. Credit: Provided/SmithGroup

LAKEVIEW — Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Lakeview is planning an eight-year, $645 million renovation to modernize the hospital.

Hospital leaders want to build a four-story addition and a five-story bed tower to its Center for Advanced Care building, according to an application filed with the State Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

Illinois Masonic, 836 W. Wellington Ave., also seeks to upgrade the first and third floors of its main building while demolishing three other buildings officials said are “outdated,” according to the application.

Illinois Masonic’s plans are scheduled to be reviewed by the state board June 7. If approved, the project could break ground this summer and finish by June 2030, creating 332,780 square feet of new space.

“With the completion of this massive project, our campus will foster an environment that represents the excellent care our physicians and team members provide,” Illinois Masonic President Susan Nordstrom Lopez said in the state application. “We must ensure our infrastructure stays at the forefront of health care innovation and modernization. This expansion allows us to increase access and continue to serve our community at the top-tier level it deserves.”

The ground floor of the Center for Advanced Care building will house the hospital’s Breast Center, which offers mammography and breast ultrasounds, according to Illinois Masonic. Other floors will be home to the expanded oncology outpatient program, operating rooms and building equipment, hospital officials said.

Dr. Jude Duval, Masonic’s director of maternal fetal medicine, wrote that “patients would greatly benefit from this expansion.”

“Having a modernized Women’s Health facility would afford patient[s] to deliver their newborn in this neighborhood and no longer have [to] travel away from families and friends,” Duval said.

The bed tower will be built on top of the expanded and current Center for Advanced Care building, according to the hospital. The inpatient medical/surgical and intensive care beds will be moved from the main hospital’s bed tower to the new one. The new bed tower will also house postpartum and NICU beds, hospital officials said.

Illinois Masonic has 397 beds, but that will be reduced to 326 when the work is finished because most of the rooms will be private and single occupancy, officials said.

“As part of the expansion, the new bed tower will operate with all privatized rooms, a big win for patients and families,” Nordstrom Lopez said. “Having private rooms is very important in a pandemic era, and the new bed tower gives us an opportunity to create the right space for our patients and their families.”

The main hospital building’s renovation will include an expansion of the hospital’s existing cardiology services and operating rooms, according to Illinois Masonic.

The project has received support from several health care leaders and doctors who wrote letters of endorsement to the state review board.

David Ernesto Munar, CEO of Howard Brown Health, the city’s largest LGBTQ-affirming health care organization, praised Illinois Masonic’s plans for including efforts to bring its Women’s Health unit up to contemporary standards.

“Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center is an ally and partner to our mission,” Munar said.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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