NEW LENOX — Four of 58 acres New Lenox village officials agreed to rezone as a hospital district for Silver Cross Hospital will be used for an ambulatory surgical center.
It’s not known at this point what the rest of property, which is farmland, will be used for.
“We don’t have any plans as of right now. The most urgent need was for the ambulatory surgery center,” said Tracy Simons, Silver Cross spokeswoman.
The surgical center is planned to be about 13,800 square feet with three operating rooms at an estimated cost of about $11 million. The center will also have nine recovery rooms, clinical support space and non-clinical spaces such as waiting and storage areas.
The New Lenox Village Board of Trustees approved Monday the rezoning of the property – acquired by Silver Cross – as a hospital district, said Kurt Carroll, village administrator.
He said all trustees present voted in favor of the ordinance but Trustee David Butterfield was absent.
Silver Cross is also seeking approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board for construction of the ambulatory surgery center. A hearing is set for Aug. 2.
Ruth Colby, Silver Cross' senior vice president for business development and chief strategy officer, told New Lenox officials at a June 27 meeting that the hospital needs “more operating rooms in order to meet the demands of the community.”
According to the application sent in May to the state board, a total of 2,165 cases – or 3,489 surgical hours – have been committed to the surgery center in 2018 by physicians on staff at Silver Cross.
The 11 operating rooms at the hospital had a use rate of 119.3 percent in 2014, which jumped to 129.7 percent in 2015. This year is on pace to hit a use rate of 138.5 percent, the application stated.
“The surgical projections for 2017, 2018 and 2019 are just as daunting and show that Silver Cross Hospital will need  operating rooms by 2019,” according to a narrative description of the project in the application.
Silver Cross has requested an expedited review of its application to the state board, which was granted. The request stated concerns about delays to meeting its anticipated March 31, 2018 completion date to build the surgical center.
“Given the high utilization of the operating rooms at [the hospital], any such delays would seriously and negatively impact patient care at Silver Cross Hospital,” the June 7 request letter stated.
In response to the state board’s questions on why the number of cases was growing, hospital officials cited modest population growth in Silver Cross’ service area, expanded normal hours of operation in operating rooms, a proximity to Interstate 355 and other factors.