Local drum tech creates new home for musicians

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab expects to open a new location in Homewood later this year. Construction has already begun at 19260 S. Halsted Street. 
The walls are up for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in this photo taken Feb. 15 at the construction site at South Halsted Street and Holbrook Road. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  Walls are up for the Shirley
  Ryan AbilityLab in this photo
  taken Feb. 15 at the construction
  site at South Halsted Street
  and Holbrook Road. 
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

AbilityLab provides physical rehab for adults and children with complex conditions resulting in loss of function. Patients range from those who’ve suffered traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries to strokes to amputations to cancer, AbilityLab’s Public Relations Director Megan Washburn said. It’s been named the No. 1 rehabilitation hospital in the nation by US News and World Report annually for 28 years. 

AbilityLab has an existing operation in Homewood at 1055 W. 175th Street. Washburn said that facility will close when the new one opens.
“This new site was selected based on its proximity to our existing location and because it enables us to build a single-purpose, standalone facility with easy access for our patients,” Washburn said.
“Specifically, at this site we will offer DayRehab services. DayRehab is an intensive model of rehabilitation offered in an outpatient setting. DayRehab patients get anywhere from two to six hours of intensive therapy per day, two to five days per week.” 
The program aims to help those with a new disabling condition return to an active, normal life. Most DayRehab patients were recently discharged from an acute rehabilitation hospital or acute hospital and the majority have a neurologic injury, Washburn said. 
Steve Gregory, of Eriksson Engineering, told the Homewood planning and zoning board in June that the lot was chosen by AbilityLab to take advantage of the natural area behind the building. A detention area will be used after bringing it up to Metropolitan Water Reclamation District regulations. 
The main drop off area will be one-way traffic with two lanes and a walking path will circle around behind the building to be used for sensory therapy. The facility is expected to have 18 room and four gyms.
Homewood Director of Economics and Community Development Angela Mesaros said a building permit was approved for exterior work only. The remainder of the build-out permit is under review in the village’s the building department.

AbilityLab expects about three to six percent annual growth, it told Homewood’s planning and zoning board last summer. That means the new facility should be sufficient for 15 to 20 years.


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