Specialty Care Building at UI Health opening up access to care, jobs

The exterior of the Specialty Care Building. (Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC)

The newest clinical building on the University of Illinois Chicago Health Sciences campus will open to patients on September 26th.

The leadership of UIC and its healthcare scheme UI Health marked the occasion with a ribbon cutting event in front of the $194 million building on 14 September.

The Specialty Care Building at 1009 S. Wood St. is the new home of Illinois Eye and Ear at UI Health, previously located at 1855 W. Taylor St. It is also the site of the new Bruno and Sallie Pasquinelli Surgery Center outpatient clinic.

The building will serve 600 to 800 patients per day.

UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish opened the celebration and welcomed high-profile guests including University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen, Chicago 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. and Lakesia Collins, Illinois 9th District Assemblyman.

The Specialty Care Building was designed to meet the growing need for specialty services and outpatient surgeries in the Chicago area. The state-of-the-art facility features nearly 200,000 square feet of surgical and patient care space dedicated to providing patients and their families with an exceptional healthcare experience.

The building has six floors with patient care rooms, eight operating rooms and eight procedure rooms, and 48 operating bays. It also includes 182 rooms for specialty clinics in gastroenterology, ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat, transplantation and urology, as well as a pharmacy.

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The new building will also include new technologies and features for an enhanced patient experience, from self-service check-in to valet parking and intuitive wayfinding.

UIC and UI health leaders and guests of honor cut the ribbon in front of the Specialty Care Building on September 14, 2022. (Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC)

The building, which was subcontracted to Pepper/Brown and Momen Construction, employed approximately 500 people over the two-year project. Approximately 20% of professional services and 35% of construction contractors were local minority, women, people with disabilities, and veteran-owned businesses certified under the Business Enterprise Program Act.

Operations and expanded clinical services in the new building are expected to create more than 100 full-time positions once fully operational. Most of the new positions are positions that belong to the university’s collective wage unions.

As part of the public-private partnership between UIC and Provident Resources Group, a 501(c)(3) corporation, Provident funded 100% of the construction through tax-exempt bonds and is now leasing the facility to UI Health for the 30-year term the bonds. Additional funds for medical equipment and furnishings were provided by private philanthropy.

What people said:

“The incredible new UI Health Specialty Care Building demonstrates the power of collaboration and partnership to drive real change in the lives of Illinois citizens,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen said. “Through the public-private partnership that has enabled this new facility, UI Health will ensure better outcomes for its patients. Partnerships like this, and those that make up the U of I system statewide, provide more and better access to the education, health care, and economic opportunities that will help Illinois residents thrive in the decades to come.

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“Today’s ribbon-cutting is all about the thousands of Chicagoans and Illinoisans who will have better access to world-class health care. Additionally, it is about the jobs this facility will bring and the hundreds of students pursuing careers in health sciences who will benefit from learning in this new clinical environment.” UIC Interim Chancellor Javier Reyes said. “The Specialty Care Building is another example of our mission to invest in our patients and our students, faculty, staff and partners by providing us new and much-needed space and the tools to further our efforts to serve our diverse communities.”

“Today we are taking a break to recognize your incredible teamwork and commitment to the vision of UI Health Specialty Care Building,” UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Dr. Robert Barish said. “Through the work each of you has put into this project, UI Health is fulfilling its mission of providing excellent care, making innovative medical discoveries and educating the healthcare leaders of tomorrow.”

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“The opening of the Specialty Care Building realizes a decades-long vision to provide our patients with an expanded, state-of-the-art place to receive world-class specialized and surgical care.” Executive Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Dr. Mark Rosenblatt said. “The building represents a partnership between the College of Medicine and UI Health to fulfill our shared mission of advancing health for all through advances in clinical care, education, research and social responsibility. In the Specialty Care Building, our faculty will not only provide expert clinical care to our community, but also train the next generation of talented physicians and make research discoveries that will impact patients’ lives.”

“This building not only supports the medical health but also the economic health of our communities and provides us with a better platform to continue our ministry throughout West and South Chicago.” Michael Zenn, CEO of the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics said. “The Specialty Care Building is an important tool in our quest to address the inequalities in access that lie at the heart of disparities in health outcomes.”

Photo gallery:

Photos were taken by Joshua Clark at the UI Health Specialty Care Building cutting through celebration on Wednesday 14 September 2022 at the UIC campus. (Photo credit: Joshua Clark/UIC.)

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