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CHICAGO-Two agencies are proposing separate redevelopment and expansion projects within a half-mile of each other on the city’s North Side. Plan commission members recommended approval of projects proposed by Lawrence Hall Youth Services and Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Lawrence Hall Youth Services expects to begin a $35-million redevelopment of its current site at 4833 N. Francisco Ave. in the Albany Park neighborhood. Two classroom and administrative buildings along with six cottages would be demolished. A gymnasium would be the only building to remain. The demolished buildings would be replaced by 120,000 sf in four buildings – a four-story dormitory, special education school, maintenance and administrative buildings.

“It’s a wonderful enhancement for Lawrence Hall and the neighborhood,” says Graham Grady, an attorney for the 136-year-old agency that has been located north of Lawrence Avenue since 1913.

Lawrence Hall Youth Services CEO Mary Hollie tells GlobeSt.com construction is expected to start in spring 2003 with completion of the phased project scheduled in 2005.

Four blocks north, Swedish Covenant Hospital, a long-time institution in the Budlong Woods neighborhood, is launching a $4-million capital campaign to help fund a 32,000-sf expansion of its Galter Life Center. The 37,000-sf medically-based fitness center was built in 1991 but now houses other programs such as speech and occupational therapy. The new addition will include a swimming pool, room for exercise equipment as well as room for physical, speech and occupational therapy services.

Alderman Bernard Stone has used the out-patient facility. “You’re cramped for space,” he told Swedish Covenant officials. “There’s no question Galter needs additional space.”

The hospital needs the boundaries of its planned development agreement, first approved in 1972 and amended twice in the 1990s, expanded by 6,250 sf to allow for the project.

Both projects received aldermanic endorsements and support from community groups. The only change to the Lawrence Hall plans was an inbound-only driveway off Lawrence Avenue, recommended at a community meeting to alleviate traffic congestion on the Albany Park and Lincoln Square thoroughfare.

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