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A New Medical Hub in a Much Needed Bronzeville Location

This month, the South Side Builders Association (SSBA) invited Northwestern Medicines', Charles Cloutier, Director of Planning & Construction at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

Cloutier shared with our members and guests an in depth discussion regarding the upcoming Bronzeville Outpatient Care Center. The recently approved 120,000-square-foot facility is said to provide immediate care services as well as diagnostics, mammograms, lab tests and chemotherapy in an area with a population of 50,000 people.



The Northwestern Medicine Bronzeville Outpatient Center stands as a beacon of healthcare accessibility and excellence in the vibrant Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. Serving as a testament to Northwestern Medicine's commitment to providing high-quality care to diverse communities, this state-of-the-art facility offers a wide range of medical services tailored to meet the unique needs of patients.

Located in the heart of Bronzeville, the center embodies Northwestern Medicine's dedication to enhancing healthcare access and fostering wellness in underserved urban areas. Its strategic placement ensures that residents have convenient access to comprehensive healthcare services, ranging from primary care and specialty clinics to diagnostic imaging and outpatient surgery.


The Build

Northwestern Medicine has utilized modular construction methods on other Outpatient Center projects in Illinois such as in Bloomingdale and in Old Irving Park. The key to the modular design is the interior, with a focus on the exam rooms, to make the most of the working space. Most of the exam rooms will be modular and built at a facility off site (but still close). The exam rooms arrive on site 99% complete, leaving simply the flooring and doors to be installed on site. Prior to delivery, the off-site build includes wall protection, millwork, plumbing fixtures, electrical devices, ceiling tile, and FFE.

Once completed, the units are then delivered to site in groups, craned into building thru left-out portion of façade, and wheeled into place.



Project Timeline

The photo below indicates the anticipated 2025 completion and grand opening of the Outpatient Center.




Project Challenges

As with any development, challenges will occur. With the planning of the center, the main obstacles are as follows;


•The Alley:

Difficulties arose while navigating neighbors and the city simultaneously. In the photo to the right, the area in gray was supposed to be public alley, but was never finalized (dating back a century).

This area is currently considered a “private alley” and is not owned by anyone.

Neighbors have been asking the city to make it a real alley for decades.

The hatched area is unimproved property with multiple owners (alley dead-ends).

Northwestern Medical has committed to assemble, design, build, and dedicate an entire swatch from 48th to 49th as a public alley allowing for public access and maneuverability.


Political Landscape:

Working to get zoning approval while pursuing CON approval from State at same time.


Pandemic Influence:

Towards the beginning of the pandemic, Northwestern Medical hosted large community meetings to ensure participation from residents and community leaders.


Price Escalation:

There was a 30-40% cost escalation from the planning to the construction start.


Site Conditions:

Several environmental conditions were found that need to be mitigated. Use of the foundation system which was relatively new to Chicago required navigating city approval & required testing.


Overview

The center serves as a hub for community engagement and collaboration. Through partnerships with local organizations and outreach initiatives, Northwestern Medicine actively seeks to address health disparities and promote health equity within the Bronzeville community. By generating meaningful connections and building trust with residents, the center strives to create a supportive healthcare ecosystem that extends beyond the confines of its walls.

In addition to its commitment to excellence in patient care, the Northwestern Medicine Bronzeville Outpatient Center is dedicated to advancing medical research and education. As part of one of the nation's premier academic medical institutions, the center provides opportunities for clinical trials, continuing medical education, and professional development, ensuring that healthcare providers stay at the forefront of innovation and discovery.


We look forward to the scheduled completion of this needed development on the southside.


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