June 3, 2010

Children’s Hospital set for major expansion

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This rendering shows the first phase of the expansion to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, to be built atop the hospital’s Emergency Department, across from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. (courtesy Earl Swennson Associates)

Children’s Hospital set for major expansion

Vanderbilt University plans to build an expansion to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

This first-phase expansion will add additional acute, neonatal intensive care and medical-surgical beds, and also allow for increased space to house a growing number of physician scientists who care for Middle Tennessee's youngest patients.

Since its opening in February 2004, patient occupancy has remained consistently high at Children's Hospital. Pressure to meet the growing needs of the region's children requires a first-stage project for hospital expansion, which will quickly bring on additional bed space, and initiate a strategy for broader future expansion needs.

As part of this multi-phase, multi-year expansion project, with an estimated total cost of $250 million, this initial Phase 1 expansion will involve $25 million to $30 million in construction costs, and will consist of a 30,000-square-foot addition on the Northwest corner of the hospital, across from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The expansion will be built atop the Children's Hospital's Emergency Department.

Architectural and engineering drawings are under way, and construction is planned for fall, pending approval from the University's Board of Trust. In addition, $20 million in programmatic investments are planned with the first-phase expansion.

Surrounding a patient-friendly atrium, the additional neonatal, acute care and medical-surgical beds will be adjacent to, and extend, the existing patient care areas on the building's fourth through eighth floors.

“The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is this region's only resource for many children who suffer life-threatening diseases. This first-stage expansion will help fulfill one of the University's essential missions, to treat each child who can benefit from our care,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The expansion will also increase capacity to accommodate premature babies born at outlying hospitals who are then transferred to Children's Hospital.

Additionally, the new space will allow Children's Hospital to expand its Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, as well as its Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care and Congenital Heart Disease Programs. Currently, Children's Hospital is the only hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer these services.

“As a world-leading research university, Vanderbilt has a responsibility to discover new cures for children with life-threatening diseases, while providing the finest possible child-centered care for children throughout the region, “ said Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., chair of Pediatrics, and assistant vice chancellor for Child and Maternal Health. “Expanding our facilities will allow us to identify new and better ways to help children with cancer, heart disease, and many other serious conditions.”

As part of the hospital's expansion, programmatic enhancements aimed to target three areas of childhood disease prevalent throughout Middle Tennessee — prematurity, childhood cancer and childhood heart disease — will be incorporated into the new space.

“The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is an unequaled resource for all pediatric patients in this region. Vanderbilt is committed to advancing as a premier national destination for injured and ill children,” said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., MBA, deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “This expansion is the first of many aimed at addressing the growing needs of children.”
Children's Hospital, an eight-floor, 616,785-square-feet freestanding facility opened in February 2004, becoming the region's first full-service children's hospital.

The 11-story Doctors' Office Tower, directly adjacent to Children's Hospital, is home to its pediatric clinics.
Within months of opening in 2004, the number of inpatient admissions and surgical procedures exceeded all projections.

During fiscal year 2009 (July 2008-June 2009), there were 235,849 pediatric visits at Children's Hospital. More than 171,000 children were seen in Children's clinics. Last year the hospital's Emergency Department cared for 48,626 children. There were 13,213 admissions at Children's Hospital during this period.