May 19, 2000

Ground broken for newly named children’s hospital

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Dr. Harry Jacobson (left), Monroe Carell (fourth from left) and a host of children and families turned the dirt earlier this week to mark the groundbreaking for the new children’s hospital. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Ground broken for newly named children's hospital

Entertainer Amy Grant (center) chatted with Ann and Monroe Carell at the groundbreaking. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Entertainer Amy Grant (center) chatted with Ann and Monroe Carell at the groundbreaking. (photo by Dana Johnson)

An enthusiastic blend of children and their parents, Vanderbilt University faculty and staff, and community leaders joined together on Monday to break ground on Vanderbilt University Medical Center's largest construction project to date — a free-standing children's hospital, designed to be one of the most family-centered in the country.

The hospital will be named the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, named after Monroe J. Carell Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Central Parking Corp. Carell and his wife, Ann, are leading the fundraising effort for the new hospital. They have personally pledged $20 million of the $50 million that has been raised.

The hospital will be located at Lot 42, at the intersection of Capers and 22nd Avenues, near the Vanderbilt Clinic and across the street from the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. The $150 million facility is expected to be completed in 2003.

The 565,000 square-foot building, designed by Nashville's Earl Swensson Associates, will consist of nine floors and 206 inpatient beds. It will replace the current hospital, housed on three floors within Vanderbilt

University Hospital. There will be shelled space for future growth and a second phase is planned to add about 90,000 additional square feet for outpatient services in the near future.

A new children's hospital will enable Vanderbilt to more fully meet the increasing needs of a region whose population has grown tremendously since the hospital was established, said Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt.

"Vanderbilt Children's Hospital has been at the forefront in medical care for Nashville's ill and injured children," Wyatt said.

"With the construction of this new hospital, we will be able to offer our care to an even larger population of children in need, as well as their families. Vanderbilt University is committed to providing the best in health care to this region, and the construction of a new children's hospital is an example of that commitment."

Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice-chancellor for Health Affairs at VUMC, said the new hospital will be one of the nation's finest and most family centered.

"It takes a whole community to raise a new children's hospital. Everybody here today should be proud," Jacobson told the group that gathered on Lot 42, the site of the new hospital.

"To all who have contributed to this day, thank you on behalf of all of the children of this region, their moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas."

A group of 28 design committees has been involved in the planning process for the new building over the past two years, meeting regularly with hospital officials and the Swensson architects to come up with the best plan. Some of the group accompanied VCH faculty and staff on site visits to other

hospitals associated with academic medical centers throughout the United States and Canada.

Carell said he has been impressed with how the Nashville community has given to the fundraising effort.

"It's easy to sell something that you are committed to and love very much. It's the best application of my work and my life and I'm pleased to be a part of this."

Others attending the groundbreaking event included Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell and entertainer Amy Grant.

"Good things don't happen by magic," Grant said. "They happen when people invest in a project. Nashville is a great community that will have the best free-standing Children's Hospital because it is a community of giving."

Purcell called the new hospital "a promise delivered" and said it will be a tremendous asset for Nashville and the region. "The level of care will be unparalleled, but the best thing about this new hospital will be the special focus on the family."

The new hospital, in addition to consolidating pediatric services under one roof, will have an increased capacity for inpatient, outpatient, NICU and PICU patients and expanded education and playroom capabilities.

Family lounges on floors four through eight will provide kitchens, laundry facilities and business centers.