SwedishAmerican Employees Celebrate First Steps on Women & Children’s Tower Construction

SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health, is expanding its excellence in health care by investing $60 Million to construct a new state-of-the art Women and Children’s Tower on its main hospital campus in downtown Rockford. Today, hundreds of SwedishAmerican associates, physicians, leadership, patients and children joined in on the celebration and officially broke ground on the new facility.

The more than 110,000 square-foot Women and Children’s Tower will include a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), featuring ten beds, along with 14 Level IIE beds, and staffed 24-hours-a-day by a multidisciplinary team of physicians from both SwedishAmerican and the nationally-rated University of Wisconsin’s American Family Children’s Hospital. Additional highly trained neonatal nurse practitioners, experienced RNs, neonatal pharmacists, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and other specialists will staff the unit. As a Level III NICU, SwedishAmerican will provide the highest level category of care in Illinois to babies and mothers.

The new facility will also include a secure NICU rooftop healing garden for patients and families, five Maternal Fetal Medicine exam rooms, 14 private labor and delivery rooms, two operating rooms and four triage rooms, 20 private Mother/Baby suites, a family lounge and two suite hotel rooms. The current pediatrics department on the third floor of the hospital will also be renovated and modernized. In addition, the tower will include 23 exam rooms that will house a wide-range of pediatric specialists and surgeons from UW Health’s American Family Children’s Hospital. Specialists include pediatric otolaryngology, cardiology, general surgery, hematology and oncology, plastic surgery, pulmonology, rheumatology and urology.

“This is an extremely exciting time for SwedishAmerican and for Rockford as a whole,” said SwedishAmerican President & CEO Dr. Michael Born. “SwedishAmerican delivers more than 1,600 babies each year and now our tiniest patients, along with their parents, will receive an even higher level of care in a more modernized facility right here in downtown Rockford.”

Within each floor of the Women and Children’s Tower there will be uplifting views, soft lighting and healing art. The interior theme will draw from the surrounding Forest City environment to reflect river, meadow, forest and sky. In addition, all rooms will be equipped with leading edge equipment and technology to enhance patient care and safety.

The new facility is a strategic expansion of the partnership between SwedishAmerican and UW Health to bring together the region’s experts for mothers, babies and children. The two systems have worked together to improve access and high quality care to the Rockford region since it merged in January 2015.

“More than 75 UW Health specialists have been traveling to Rockford, treating and caring for area residents since the merger three years ago,” said UW Health President Dr. Alan Kaplan. “These specialists will continue to serve on-site at SwedishAmerican, however many of them will now be located under one roof, providing optimal care for babies and children, while adding in healing comfort and convenience for mothers and families.”

“Having top-notch care right here in Rockford has been a lifesaver for my husband and I and our young son who was born with a congenital heart defect,” said Rockford resident Abby Morhardt. “Our life was put on hold when our son was born a year ago, but having access to UW Health specialists close to our home here in Rockford has put us at ease and has offered a tremendous amount of convenience to our family. Our son is now thriving thanks to the care we received at Swedes.”

The new tower has major and long-term economic impacts for downtown Rockford as it will create approximately 400 union labor construction jobs and dozens of new permanent healthcare jobs inside SwedishAmerican. Project partners for the new facility include Ringland Johnson and Cannon Design.
Construction on the tower will begin next week and will be completed in spring of 2021. In addition to the new Women and Children’s Tower, SwedishAmerican will expand its Emergency Department, modernize operating rooms and its bed tower, and add beds for psychiatry. Last week the hospital also broke ground on its new 12,000 square-foot Cath Lab expansion which will be completed in summer 2019.

“Our new Women and Children’s Tower is more than just a new, modernized space,” said Dr. Born. “It’s about the people we care for, day in and day out, and our commitment to providing our patients with the highest level of care and compassion.”