April 14, 2000

Program gives peek inside new Children’s Hospital

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Dr. Harry Jacobson outlined aspects of the new Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to staff and faculty. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Program gives peek inside new Children's Hospital

A groundbreaking for the new freestanding Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, the largest construction project ever at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will be held Monday, May 15 at 4 p.m.

But VUMC faculty and staff got a sneak peak recently when they were invited to hear about plans for the new hospital, specifically the physical layout and services that will be offered.

Those parpticipating in the event included Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs; Norman B. Urmy, Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs; Dr. Ian M. Burr, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Children's Services; David Miller, Senior Project Architect, Earl Swensson Associates; and Monroe J. Carell Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Central Parking Corp. Carell leads the fundraising effort for the new hospital.

"It's very easy to sell something that you are committed to and love very much," Carell said. He and his wife, Ann, have personally donated $20 million to the fundraising effort. "It's the best application of my work and my life and I'm pleased to be a part of this."

Those attending the presentation got a chance to see a rendering of the outside of the building and a floor-by-floor view of the services that will be included.

The new building will be located on the lot across the street from the Kim Dayani Human Performance Center and across the street from The Vanderbilt Clinic, next to Capers Garage. The 565,000-square-foot building will consist of nine floors and 206 inpatient beds. There will be shelled space for future growth and as soon as funding is available, about 90,000 additional square feet for outpatient services.

Burr told the group the extra space is both welcome and needed. In 1998 there were 148,000 total visits to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital: 8,000 inpatient admissions and 140,000 outpatient and emergency room visits.

The Nashville area has grown by 35 percent, admissions are up by 45 percent and outpatient visits are up 215 percent. From January to June of 1999, the current hospital was 80 percent occupied and full 23 percent of the time.

There are dramatic differences in the square footages of the existing hospital, housed within Vanderbilt University Hospital, and the new building. The hospital and outpatient services area will increase from 280,000 to 650,000 square feet.

The inpatient rooms will increase from 180 to 319 square feet. Child Life space will increase from 3,500 to 8,390 square feet and family space, outside of the rooms, will increase from 200 square feet to 10,835.

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

Besides larger rooms, there are places for parents to sleep, rest and wait. The Junior League Family Resource Center, where families can go to learn more about their child's condition or recovery, is increasing from 500 square feet to 3,800 square feet.

Family involvement in the planning process has been instrumental in the development of the new hospital, Jacobson said.

To help plan the new hospital, VCH enlisted the help of two of its most important groups – the Pediatric and Family Advisory Councils. The two councils have met over the past two years with VCH officials and the architects from Earl Swensson Associates to come up with the best plan. In addition to the PAC and FAC, there have been 26 other design committees involved in the planning process.

"We want a family-centered hospital. We're getting a family-designed hospital," Jacobson said.