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Sherman updates on Center St. park site, merger

The arewhere old Sherman Hospital parking garage along N. Spring St. Elgonce stood is now flsurrounded by fence.  Constructinew

The area where the old Sherman Hospital and parking garage along N. Spring St. in Elgin once stood, is now flat and surrounded by fence. Construction on a new park will begin in spring. January 24, 2013 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 26, 2013 6:27AM



ELGIN — Come spring, work will begin on the final phase of a project converting what was the main portion of the old Sherman Hospital and its parking garage into park space on the city’s northeast side.

That park should be ready to use in summer, by the same time the current facility along Randall Road will officially be part of Advocate Health Care.

That was the news Sherman Health President and CEO Rick Floyd gave to the Elgin City Council on Wednesday night, updating those present on the status of both projects.

Floyd said the park space is set to feature elements that commemorate the site’s former role as a hospital.

When asked by Mayor David Kaptain if the green space would have restrictions on its use by the public, Floyd said, “I hope not ... as long as it doesn’t become a hangout or people are doing dangerous things.”

Floyd said a park area, with its opportunities for casual recreation, fits in well with a shifting focus in health care on prevention.

Left at the Center Street location are two buildings with doctors’ offices and a sleep study center; a surgery center; and in what was the pavilion for the hospital, the Greater Elgin Family Care Center, whose goal is to serve those on public aid or who have no medical insurance.

While Sherman moved to its new facility along Randall Road in late 2009, the $3 million to- $4 million demolition project on the old hospital began last summer.

According to local historian Jerry Turnquist, the Elgin Woman’s Club established the city’s first hospital in a two-story home owned by Henry Sherman in 1888. A hospital was built in 1895, expanded in 1905 and 1927, and by 1930 had 150 employees. The oldest parts of the demolished hospital building dated back to 1917, and the parking deck opened in the early 1980s.

While empty, the building had been used to film scenes for a music video and for the 2011 medical suspense drama “Contagion.” Last summer, Elgin and other area fire departments used the site for training exercises.

According to a newsletter available on Sherman’s website for the project, the land that will be the park space was “leveled with structural clean fill made primarily from the crushed concrete of the former hospital building and parking deck. We have recycled or salvaged all materials that could be.”

Floyd noted the project involved a steering committee and meeting with people who live near what was the hospital.

Another Center Street update is to be sent in spring to those living in neighborhood at the start of landscaping and will be put online at www.shermanhealth.com/about_centerstreet.php.

Merger close

Floyd also told the council that, assuming approval from the federal and state governments, the merger into Advocate Health Care should close between May and July.

Floyd said Advocate is the largest network of its kind in Illinois. Advocate is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Church of Christ, based in Oak Brook, and currently has 12 hospitals. Those include Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge, Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington, Advocate Good Samaritan in Downers Grove, and Advocate Condell in Libertyville.

Elgin’s campus will be renamed Advocate Sherman Hospital.

About two years ago, a “Future of Sherman Task Force” courted 11 hospitals and chains to talk about possible partnerships. Five were asked for proposals, with that eventually narrowed to Advocate and Cadence Health, which includes Delnor Hospital in Geneva and Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield. The Sherman board in October voted unanimously in favor of Advocate.

Floyd said the decision to team with Advocate was made because it is “the most evolved and best prepared for the future promoting wellness.” The partnership allows the community to move toward becoming a better health care value area, he said.

“These are mission-driven folks,” Floyd said of Advocate.



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