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Illinois board approves University of Chicago hospital expansion

The University of Chicago Medical Center (pictured in 2013). Hospital Vice President Cristal Thomas says the trauma center could open by early 2018. | Sun-Times file photo

NORMAL, Ill. — A state review board has approved a $269 million expansion proposal from the University of Chicago Medical Center that includes an adult trauma center.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved the plan Tuesday in Normal.

Community activists have been pushing for years for adult trauma care on Chicago’s South Side, an area without such care since 1991.

The University of Chicago now must gain approval to be a Level 1 adult trauma center from the Chicago Trauma Network and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Hospital officials said they’ve launched a national search for a trauma center director.

Hospital Vice President Cristal Thomas said the trauma center could open by early 2018.

The expansion will add 188 inpatient beds and a cancer-treatment facility.