Originally known as the Aurora City Hospital, the original building was constructed in 1888 with a capacity of 25 beds to provide general medical care, surgical operations, and maternity services to the rapidly growing City. It remained the only hospital in Aurora until 1900 and, until 1911, it was the only institution in Aurora to offer maternity beds. In 1893, the Aurora City Hospital began operating an accredited two-year diploma training school for nurses, one of the state’s earliest programs of its kind.
It was re-named Copley Hospital and later Copley Memorial Hospital in honor of local philanthropist and entrepreneur Ira C. Copley, whose generous donations and endowment financed two of the largest expansions to the campus and ensured the continued operation of the hospital.
The hospital continued to grow throughout the 20th century to meet the City’s needs. Additional phases of construction took place over 90 years, expanding the campus to nearly 300 thousand square feet. The design of the new sections reflected the eras of their construction – spanning from Victorian to Modern Movement architecture styles. The hospital’s final expansion was constructed in 1970 and brought its total capacity up to 319 patient beds and included new radiology, physical therapy, and emergency departments.
Copley Memorial Hospital continued to operate until 1995 when it moved into a new building located in southeast Aurora and became the Rush-Copley Health Complex. Since then, the property has sat vacant for decades, falling into disrepair, suffering from extreme decay and vandalism, and becoming the subject of many ghost stories.
The $107.6 million historic revitalization efforts, led by Fox Valley Developers, will restore the Copley Memorial Hospital campus and transform it into a center for in-demand and needed supportive housing, health, and community support. The new community preserves the campus’s rich history while bringing in-demand and needed housing, healthcare, and other services to the heart of Aurora’s Bardwell neighborhood.
Three of the historic buildings will become a new 99-unit senior housing facility with a mixture of independent, assisted living, and memory care units, as well as a 53-unit independent apartment community (IAC) for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.
This IAC will be modeled after other best-in-class operations across the country and provide residents with comprehensive services and support, including social and educational programming, employment and volunteer placement, job coaching, and independent skill-building.
Over 80,000 square feet of the campus will support various healthcare and social services tenants, including a physician-led and physician-owned urgent care center that will provide emergency and outpatient services. It will also become the home to a nonprofit community organization that provides parents and children with critical resources and learning opportunities to encourage healthy development. A nonprofit health service and research organization that administers grant awards on behalf of community organizations and institutions working to improve care and resources for the underserved will also be moving its facilities to the revitalized center.