Construction is under way on a $550-million replacement facility for the Rehabilitation Institution of Chicago (RIC) on Chicago's Gold Coast, with Schaumburg, Ill.-based Power Construction serving as contractor on the 27-story project. 

The facility, designed by the joint-venture team of Gensler and HDR Architecture, both of Chicago, will feature 242 beds when completed in 2016. The 1.2-million sq-ft facility also will contain three times more space than the facility it is slated to replace.

In May, the Illinois Financing Authority approved plans by RIC to fund the project with up to $450 million in bonds. RIC also plans to fund 60% of project costs through ongoing fundraising efforts.

When completed, the facility will house five centers specializing in brain, spinal cord, neuro-musculoskeletal, pediatric and cancer research and recovery.

In a statement, RIC indicated the completed facility will promote “fluid integration of researchers, engineers, doctors, nurses, therapists and patients working to identify real-time research breakthroughs that are immediately translated to patient care.” 

“This is far more than a new hospital,” RIC President and CEO, Dr. Joanne C. Smith indicated in the statement. “We are reinventing and reframing a model of physical medicine and rehabilitation that did not exist until now – embedding research and clinical care, 24/7. Most medical institutions have research facilities separate from hospitals.  At RIC, everyone will be in the same place, working shoulder to shoulder around each patient.”

The facility's substructure, the majority of it foundations, is due for completion by year's end. RIC expects to move into the facility in early 2017.