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Arial Photograph of Alexian Brothers Medical Center
History Of Alexian Brothers Medical Center

The 1960's
In 1959, the Alexian Brothers formed a committee to determine the future of their Chicago hospital. After considerable study, the then Superior General, Brother Melchior Wimmer, directed that a site be found on which to build a new hospital. Several sites were considered. It was decided that the suburban area northwest of Chicago had a tremendous potential need. Studies of the State Bureau of Hospitals and the Hospital Planning Council for Metropolitan Chicago confirmed this conclusion.

With the help of Father J. Ward Morrison, and the Centex Company, community developers, an ideal location was found in Elk Grove Village. With 30 acres, five of which were donated by Centex, the institution had room to grow as the area was developed. Brother Gregory Isenhart was the project's first director and the hospital's first administrator.

The phase of planning, working out cost and financing, settling materials, equipment and functions came next. The Federal government, recognizing the growth potential of the area, allocated $9000,000 for the hospital through the Hill-Burton Act. In December of 1962 a campaign office was opened in a model home on Higgins Road in Elk Grove Village. The office was later moved to a farmhouse located on the hospital site. The Men's Foundation of the Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago came forward with the price of the remaining 25 acres, individual benefactors gave generously, and many people donated time and funds. To an institution without endowments, every penny and every hour donated had added value.

The groundbreaking was held on December 14, 1963 and was blessed by the Most Reverend Aloysius J. Wycislo, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. In spite of the severe cold weather, a crowd of about 200 people were present, including residents of the area, the Clergy, representatives of the various municipalities to be served by the hospital, and other friends and benefactors of the Brothers.

The new hospital was originally named "Alexian Brothers Hospital," but because the Chicago hospital was still in operation under the same name, there was much confusion in the delivery of supplies, materials, and in other important matters. In January of 1966 the name of the Elk Grove Village hospital was changed to "St. Alexius Hospital."

Although only the first three floors were completed, the Alexian Brothers were anxious to show the new hospital to the community. On May 14, 1966, the doors were flung open to their friends, who streamed in by the thousands. Groups departed every five minutes from the lobby for a one and one half-hour tour. Auxiliary volunteers and employees acted as guides who escorted the groups from one point to the next where an expert was waiting to explain that department. At the end of the tour were refreshments, and every little child, and some of the young at heart, went home with a helium filled balloon and a lighter step.

St. Alexius Hospital was originally built as a seven-story, $8,000,000, 224 bed hospital. Its unique design was often referred to as the "open fan" base and the "bow tie" design, incorporating all the useful features of the circular plan with those of the horizontal radial construction.

On June 12, l966, St. Alexius Hospital was formally dedicated. Bishop Cletus O'Donnell blessed the hospital and the chapel and then gave the dedication address. The hospital formally opened on June 20th with 144 beds in service.

The 1970's
The Psychiatric Unit which had been housed in a wing of the 5th floor since January of 1969 moved, in March of 1971, to the Annex. Formerly a new but never occupied nursing home across the street from the hospital, it was a 200 bed facility. The modern two-story, 59,000 square foot building also included space for a center for rehabilitation medicine which opened in 1972.

On June 27, 1971, St. Alexius Hospital celebrated its fifth anniversary with a name change to Alexian Brothers Medical Center. The Brothers and hospital officials felt that the new name more accurately reflected the institution's goals and plans for the future. The hospital was incorporated under the new name on April 20. Also at this time, the Annex was renamed the C.E. Niehoff Pavilion, honoring the memory of Conrad E. Niehoff, industrialist and long time friend of the Alexian Brothers. The Pavilion was the first step in the Medical Center's multi-million dollar expansion and modernization program.

Groundbreaking for expansion of the facilities took place on August 6, 1972. Illinois Governor Richard Ogilvie spoke at the ceremony that marked the beginning of remodeling of the facilities and construction of an addition to the main building which would include emergency and ambulatory care facilities, ancillary services, and the Alexian Brothers Medical Plaza with office space for physicians in private practice. Most of these areas were completed by November of 1974.

A 20 bed Alcoholic Treatment Unit was opened in Niehoff Pavilion in May of 1975. Staffed by both medical people and counselors, this unit was the only voluntary treatment center in the immediate geographic area.

In July of 1976, construction began on a monastery for the Alexian Brothers assigned to the Medical Center. The plans included provisions for the Postulant program to move to this location. The building was completed and occupied one year later.

The 1980's
On April 27, 1980 groundbreaking took place for an $8 million, 40,000 square foot expansion and remodeling project. The largest component would be the relocation and complete modernization of the Coronary Care and Intensive Care Units. New operating rooms would be added, and a new completely remodeled area on the main floor would be turned over to the Nuclear Medicine Department. Expansion and/or relocation of key support services, located on the ground floor, was also an important part of the new project. On November 13, 1981, the wing was dedicated by his Eminence John Cardinal Cody.

Services continued to be expanded and added throughout the 1980's. New services included a Respiratory Care Unit, Cardiac Rehabilitation, and a mobile van to take healthcare to the community. In 1984 two off-campus locations for counseling were created, and in 1985 an Immediate Care Center was opened in a nearby town. Samaritan House, a unique day hospital designed to meet the short-term needs of patients who do not require inpatient care was opened in 1986. Hospice, Day Surgery and a Sleep Lab, along with a Child Care Center, also opened during this time.

In spring of 1988, construction began on the hospital property to house a freestanding, outpatient facility to provide radiation therapy, medical oncology and other cancer-related treatments. It was called "Alexian Brothers Regional Cancer Care Center." It opened in January 1989, and was dedicated on February 25.

The 1990's
Groundbreaking for the new Cardiac Surgical Unit was held in the spring of 1989. Brother Philip Kennedy welcomed over 200 guests. Breaking ground for the two-story, 20,000 square foot addition marked the beginning of a $7.5 million project. The addition included a six-bed cardiac intensive care unit; four additional operating rooms, one of which was dedicated solely to open-heart surgery; plus space for sterilizing instruments and preparing surgical supplies, new conference rooms, and expanded facilities management. The Cardiac Center was dedicated in June of 1990, and the first open-heart surgical procedure was performed the next month.

A $40 million expansion project was begun in 1990. It included an addition to house the Emergency Room and MRI services, a new building for physician offices and the Obstetrics Department, and a parking garage. These new areas were completed in 1992 and 1993.

On October 11, 1996 ground was broken for the expansion of the Alexian Brothers Regional Cancer Care Center. The expansion provided two additional patients exam rooms, an education room, enhanced patient/family waiting areas, and a new technologically advanced dual-energy linear accelerator. The area opened in 1997.

Alexian Brothers Medical Center opened its new $200 million hospital tower facility in 2009. The 200,000 square-foot, five-story, addition took more than three years to complete and is Alexian Brothers' largest expansion in its 145 year presence in the Chicagoland area. The new facility has completely reshaped the Elk Grove Village hospital to include all private beds and luxury patient rooms.

With the new configuration, the hospital now has a total of 387 beds, including 257 for general medical/surgery patients, 28 for obstetrics patients, 36 for ICU patients, and 66 for rehabilitation patients. The new tower structure includes a unique ground-level diagnostic mall, housing computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, ultrasound testing, non-invasive cardiology testing, and pre-surgical testing.

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