Carle tower project nearly ready

URBANA — More than two years after construction started on Carle Foundation Hospital's new nine-story patient tower, it's nearly ready to open to patients.

The new 400,000-square-foot building at the corner of Coler and Church streets houses Carle's Heart and Vascular Institute and 136 new private patient rooms. It also comes with its own 250-space parking lot.

Carle plans to give the community its first look at the new building at an open house with tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Guests are encouraged to park at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, and a shuttle service will be provided.

"This has been a long project, really over seven years in the making," Carle Foundation CEO Dr. James Leonard said before a tour of the building for reporters Thursday.

Leonard said this is the largest facility Carle has ever built all in one project, and it was designed with the community's future health care needs in mind.

The top floor is shell space for the future, and two floors could be added if needed, Carle officials said.

The Heart and Vascular Institute, on two floors, houses inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services.

Carle says the most significant addition to its heart program is the TAVR — transcatheter aortic vale replacement — procedure, an advanced treatment for patients who don't qualify for open heart surgery, which helps alleviate symptoms of heart failure. Carle was recently approved to offer this procedure.

The new patient rooms are replacing patient rooms from decades-old sections of the hospital, leaving the hospital's total bed count at 345.

Now all sections of the hospital, with the exception of a rehab area, offer private rooms, Carle officials said.

The waiting rooms in the new building also have a new addition, kitchenettes, a feature requested in patient surveys, said Scott Harding, Carle vice president of facility and support services.

The entire tower project was actually approved by a state regulatory board in 2008, but put on hold for a time because of the economy and then scaled back a bit. It wound up being a $195 million project, with work beginning in May 2011.

Harding said moving in will start once the Illinois Department of Public Health gives final approval to the building and is anticipated for August.

It will be done a floor at a time, and about 20 to 24 patients will be moved at a time, he said.

What's next at Carle: A 14,000-square-foot, 17-bed expansion of the emergency department between this new building and the existing hospital is already under construction and set to be largely completed by the end of next year, Harding said.

That is an $18.5 million project being driven by growing emergency room volume.

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Health Care

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vcponsardin wrote on June 21, 2013 at 9:06 am
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Seems quite evident that Carle and the medical profession in general make far too much money and cost everyone far too much money.  I'm still amazed at how Carle's new satellite clinics around town, with their rich hardwood trimmed circular staircases and marble floors and soaring ceilings, look like Saddam Hussein's palaces.  I'd much prefer a little more modesty in the look of the medical facilities along with lower costs.

spangwurfelt wrote on June 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

I wonder if the new Carle Bill-Ya-Again policy is driven by the construction costs of this sort of project. Maybe they could change the line item to "Customer Fee for Our New Taj Ma-Carle."

Commonsenseman wrote on June 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

Carle kept sending me incorrect bills, it took months for them to figure it out.  As for doctors and Nurses, they arent the ones getting overpaid, its the administrators there. The real healthecare workers there are treated like they work in  a sweatshop.  Ask one of the doctors there how bad the adminstration is. The patients they have there are scummy too.  When i wait in their waiting room I feel like I am in the public health dept of a big city. Since Health Alliance is  owned by them, they try to treat you on the cheap if you have it.  Maybe in their new building they can keep people with insurance in the new place so I can feel I'm getting real medical care.

Allison F. wrote on June 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The second half of your comment reeks of class discrimination and thinly veiled racism. It's attitudes like this that have led us to such a broken and dysfunctional health care system. These "scummy" people that you deign to be treated alongside are human beings with every right to adequate healthcare, just like you. You should feel grateful that you have access to "real medical care" and wish the same for everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status.

Danno wrote on June 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

 "The patients they have there are scummy too.  When i wait in their waiting room I feel like I am in the public health dept of a big city". You have experience in any Public Health Dept., anywhere? "Scummy?" Are you a politician, Pig? Just what do you want to feel like? 'Special?' Go to Mayo, $MoneyBag$. Tell us of the Pretty Folk you encounter in their waiting room. Unbeknownst to such a classy fella' as yourself; you've managed to put down a lotta' people in East Central Illinois. Heaven forbid that my oncologist upped Chemo Playday to an hour from now, and me, with no 'Dapper Dan' to style my hair! I'd look Scummy. I'd be so ashamed.

Martin1 wrote on June 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Commonsenseman, the only common sense you have is being anonymous. Next time you're in a waiting room with the scummies, please fill free to jump up and let them know how much you despise them for needing medical help ahead of you. I'm sure that someone will get up and help you in getting more medical attention than what you came in for.

Commonsenseman wrote on June 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

I work hard to have and keep a job wih insurance, I dont appreciate welfare rats being obnoxious  chomping on cheetohs and yapping on their phones in the doctors office with me, I pay a $40 copay on my insurance they pay $1 hows that make sense? I work for my benefits I should be treated sooner and better

Nice Davis wrote on June 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm

A mere $40 copay? What are you, some sort of disgusting poor person? I work really had to have and keep a better job than yours, with better insurance too. I don't appreciate sitting next to workaday rats like you being obnoxious, chomping on Sun Chips and texting on their outdated Samsungs in the doctor's office with me. My work is way more meaningful than yours and my benefits are better too. I deserve to be treated sooner and better than you, Captain Lower Middle Class.

Sandy wrote on June 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

This is absolutely fascinating. Somehow you can discern the copayment your fellow patients pay by their telephone use and eating habits?  Where do you come up with the amount of someone's co-pay anyway? I certainly haven't managed this feat, and I've been going to Carle since Health Alliance was a gleam in CarleCare's eye.  

I wondered why they had to put the "stand here to ensure privacy" signs up. I guess there really were people without the grace to keep a polite distance behind their fellow patients after all.