Specialty Care Building at UI Health opening up access to care, jobs

The exterior of the Specialty Care Building. (Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC)

The newest clinical building on the University of Illinois Chicago’s health sciences campus will open to patients Sept. 26. 

Leadership from UIC and its health system, UI Health, marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting event outside the $194 million building Sept. 14. 

The Specialty Care Building, at 1009 S. Wood St., is the new home to Illinois Eye and Ear at UI Health, which previously was located at 1855 W. Taylor St. It is also the location of the new Bruno and Sallie Pasquinelli Outpatient Surgery Center. 

The building is projected to serve 600 to 800 patients per day. 

UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish kicked off the celebration and welcomed distinguished guests, including University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen, Chicago 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., and Illinois 9th District Rep. Lakesia Collins.  

The Specialty Care Building was designed to meet the growing need for specialized services and outpatient surgery in the Chicago metropolitan area. The state-of-the-art facility has nearly 200,000 square feet of surgical and patient care space dedicated to providing an exceptional health care experience for patients and their families. 

The building includes six floors of patient care space, with eight operating and eight procedure rooms, and 48 surgery bays. It also includes 182 rooms for gastroenterology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, transplant and urology care specialty clinics, and a pharmacy.  

The new building also will include new technology and functionality for an improved patient experience, from check-in kiosks to valet parking and intuitive wayfinding. 

UIC and UI Health leaders and special guests cut the ribbon outside the Specialty Care Building Sept. 14, 2022. (Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC)

Construction of the building, which was contracted to Pepper/Brown and Momen Construction, employed around 500 individuals over the course of the two-year project. Approximately 20% of professional services and 35% of construction vendors were local minority, women, persons with disabilities and veteran-owned businesses certified under the Business Enterprise Program Act. 

Operations and expanded clinical services in the new building are expected to create more than 100 full-time positions once it is fully operational. The majority of new jobs include positions that are part of the university’s collective bargaining units. 

Under the public-private partnership between UIC and Provident Resources Group, a 501(c)(3) corporation, Provident financed 100% of the construction through tax-exempt bonds and now leases the facility to UI Health for the 30-year term of the bonds. Additional funding for medical equipment and furnishings was provided by private philanthropy. 

What people have said:

“The incredible new UI Health Specialty Care Building illustrates the power of collaboration and partnership to drive real change in the lives of the citizens of Illinois,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen said. “Through the public-private partnership that made this new facility possible, UI Health will ensure better outcomes for its patients. Partnerships like this and those the U of I System is part of across the state are offering more and better access to education, health care and economic opportunities that will help Illinoisans thrive in the decades ahead.

“Today’s ribbon-cutting is first and foremost about the thousands of residents in Chicago and Illinois who will have increased access to world-class health care. Additionally, it is about the jobs this facility will bring, and the hundreds of students pursuing careers in the health sciences who will benefit from learning in this new clinical environment,” UIC Interim Chancellor Javier Reyes said. “The Specialty Care Building is yet another example of our mission to invest in our patients, and our students, faculty, staff and partners, by providing us with new and much-needed space, and the tools to advance our efforts to serve our diverse communities.” 

“Today we pause to recognize your incredible teamwork and dedication to the vision of the UI Health Specialty Care Building,” UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish said. “Through the work each of you has put into this project, UI Health is fulfilling its mission of delivering outstanding care, making innovative medical discoveries and training tomorrow’s health care leaders.”

“The opening of the Specialty Care Building fulfills a decadeslong vision to provide our patients with an expanded state-of the-art destination to receive world-class specialty and surgical care,” University of Illinois College of Medicine Executive Dean Dr. Mark Rosenblatt said. “The building represents a partnership between the College of Medicine and UI Health to deliver on our shared mission to advance health for everyone through advances in clinical care, education, research and social responsibility. In the Specialty Care Building, our faculty will not only provide expert clinical care to our community but will also train the next generation of talented physicians and make research discoveries that will have impact in the lives of patients.” 

“This building supports not just the medical health, but the economic health of our communities, and gives us a better platform to continue our service throughout the West and South sides of Chicago,” University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics CEO Michael Zenn said. “The Specialty Care Building is a significant tool in our drive to address the inequities of access which are at the core of disparities in health outcomes.”

Photo Gallery:

Photos were taken by Joshua Clark at the UI Health ribbon-cutting celebration of the Specialty Care Building Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, on UIC’s campus. (Photo Credit: Joshua Clark/UIC.)

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