Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Thursday announced a plan that could save more than $100 million over the next 15 years by consolidating and better managing county-owned real estate.
Under the plan, the County would reduce the Oak Forest Health Center campus by 75 percent over the next four to five years, centralizing services offered in buildings designed to enhance the delivery of care and reduce costs. The health center currently occupies 1.1 million square feet—of which roughly 50 percent is underused or used as inactive storage areas.
Eliminating unused space would save the County $45 million, according to a release issued by Preckwinkle.
Without changes, it would cost the County $251 million over the next 15 years to maintain buildings currently on the property, some of which date back to 1910 and would require up to $129 million in capital repairs.
The County also plans to reduce downtown office space to save $30 million. Additional measures could save about $8 million by consolidating highway facilities, and roughly $18 million by modernizing records storage in County warehouses.
“Historically, Cook County did not maintain a complete portfolio of the real estate it owned and operated,” President Preckwinkle said. “We have compiled these records to understand what we have and what we need. Now that we’ve studied our inventory we have developed a long-term strategy to reduce our footprint and save significant taxpayer money.
“This plan requires cooperation from everyone involved,” Preckwinkle said. “I am confident we can work together as we continue to bring the County into the 21st century.”