Big plans for Swedes

Hospital announces $130 million expansion project for main campus

ROCKFORD – SwedishAmerican Hospital on Tuesday announced a multi-million-dollar plan to expand its Rockford campus.

The division of UW Health will build a four-story, state-of-the art women’s and children’s tower, and make renovations to its emergency department, surgical area and catheterization labs.

Improvements in the behavioral and mental health unit is slated to increase bed capacity by 30 percent.

The $130 million expansion marks the second major project announced this week. It comes a day after the Rockford City Council approved a $77 million deal to redevelop the downtown Amerock building into a 13-story Embassy Suites.

When construction is finished, SwedishAmerican will have invested more than $630 million since 2001 into its sprawling campus at 1401 E. State St.

“Services in the new tower will focus on modernized care for babies and their mothers and will allow the more than 2,500 children born here every year to receive an even higher level of care,” Dr. Bill Gorski, president and CEO of SwedishAmerican, said in a statement. “In-house specialist physicians from our University of Wisconsin’s American Family Children’s Hospital will serve on-site, providing optimal care for babies along with healing comfort and convenience for mothers and families.”

The tower will include a 10-bed Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It will be staffed 24-hours-a-day by physicians from SwedishAmerica, University of Wisconsin’s American Family Children’s Hospital and teams of neonatal nurse practitioners, RNs, pharmacists, and other specialists.

As a Level III NICU, SwedishAmerican will provide the highest category of care in Illinois to babies and mothers.

“We see more and more babies regularly experiencing a wide variety of complications requiring specialized care so the addition of a Level III NICU along with new specialist physicians will be a major asset for our patients,” added Dr. William K. Cunningham, SwedishAmerican OB/GYN department chairman.

Like the hotel, the project will create approximately 600 construction jobs and dozens of permanent healthcare positions inside SwedishAmerican.

Construction is pending approval by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Crews are expected to break ground in two to four months.

–Staff report

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