New Sherman Hospital Built To Withstand Earthquakes

February 10, 2010

Earthquake in IL

Given the recent earthquake in Illinois, Sherman Health would like to inform you that its new hospital was the first “seismically” built hospital in Illinois, under the Illinois seismic code. The State adopted new structural guidelines several years ago that include compliance with some seismic reinforcing of structural systems and overhead support.

The code requires that facilities built (or modified) under this code that provide emergency or surgical services must comply. As separation of overhead utilities is difficult to achieve (so that only emergency and surgery areas would be built in compliance) the entire hospital was built to this standard.

There are specific additional reinforcements of the foundation and structure in the new hospital. Every overhead utility (down to light fixtures) have their own independent, engineered supports.

Interesting Facts

-The biggest risk in the Chicagoland area is not really a strong quake itself, but the effect on our soil from a serious quake. An example of this effect would be the New Madrid fault in southern Illinois. The shock waves from a 8.0 quake in Cairo, IL would migrate out quickly. This is called the response time. This low-frequency shaking can liquefy the soil and cause bigger problems for those farther from the quake who are on more stable soil. Our soil type (and virtually all of the soil in the Chicago region) is at the higher end of the risk scale.

-In the 1800’s there was a serious quake in that area that caused the Mississippi to literally run backwards for a period. It also caused damage that can still be found and is researched actively. The fault has a history of repetitive action and it is “overdue” according to many experts for a major shift.

To read more about unique features at the new hospital, visit

One Response to “New Sherman Hospital Built To Withstand Earthquakes”

  1. Peggy Johnson said

    Thank you for this very interesing information. How ironic is it that we had a recent earthquake too!

    The hospital is beautiful, reminds me of a luxury hotel suite almost…but I’m sure you understand that I hope not to have to see it anytime soon, unless it is for employment reasons, and not reason related to family or illness issues.

    It is nice that this email was sent and appreciated!

    Thank you again!

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