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Preparations are being made to begin construction of the planned expansion to the Monroe Carell Jr. Childrenís Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Construction on Childrenís Hospital expansion begins

BY: CHRISTINA E. SANCHEZ

2/24/2011 - Construction is set to begin on two previously announced expansion projects at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, including a 30,000 square-foot-addition and added space for pediatric clinics.

The construction is part of a multi-phase, multi-year expansion to ease the growing regional demand for care at Children's Hospital since it opened in 2004. The initial phase creating additional bed space sets in motion a strategy for future, broader expansions.

The larger project, a five-story, $30 million addition atop the third floor surgery pre-op and recovery areas, will allow for 33 additional acute, neonatal intensive care and medical-surgical beds. At the same time, work will begin to develop a vacant 20,000-square-foot area on the 10th floor of the Doctor's Office Tower (DOT) to create more space for clinical services.

The groundwork for the DOT project is under way, while preparatory work for the expansion is slated to begin March 7. The estimated construction duration of both projects is 12 months, and will be carried out by Balfour Beatty Construction.

“The expansion allows us to continue to provide the high quality of care that we strive to afford to all our patients and families,” said Luke Gregory, chief executive officer of Children's Hospital. “We are working to discover new cures, offer better treatments to our patients and give hope to the families who walk through our doors every day.”

In addition to the expansion project, an extra $20 million in investments also is planned for programmatic enhancements that focus on the three childhood diseases most prevalent in Middle Tennessee — childhood cancer, childhood heart disease and prematurity.

“The opportunity to expand our capacity to care for patients and families will be transformative,” said Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., chair of Pediatrics and assistant vice chancellor for Child and Maternal Health. “We are deeply grateful to Vanderbilt and the community for this support.”

The new five-story facility will increase capacity to accommodate premature babies who are transferred to Children's Hospital from outlying hospitals. The added neonatal, acute care and medical-surgical beds will be adjacent to and an extension of the existing building's fourth through eighth floors.

Also, growth will be seen in multiple programs, including the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program, the Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care and Congenital Heart Disease programs. Currently, Children's Hospital is the only hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer these services.

Vanderbilt will continue to recruit top physician scientists to care for the region's youngest patients as well as to conduct innovative research for new cures. The 11-story DOT, adjacent to Children's Hospital, is home to the pediatric clinics and houses many of the physicians.

Several clinics will see a significant increase in space with the DOT project.

Once finished, the new space on the 10th floor will be home to the Pediatric Pulmonary Clinic, the Pediatric Nephrology Clinic and the Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition clinic.

The moves will create vacant space on other floors, allowing for growth in Pediatric Plastic Surgery on the ninth floor and the Pediatric Heart Institute on the fifth floor.

John W. Brock III, M.D., surgeon-in-chief for Children's Hospital, said the state-of-the-art facilities offers children improved access to outstanding medical and surgical services.

“It is truly an exciting day to see the arrival of the construction elevator for DOT 10 and the cranes for the expansion project,” said Brock. “These allow us to go forward in serving our children and their families while alleviating some of the space issues we are having with increased volumes. We are all excited about the future at Children's Hospital.”

Children's Hospital, an eight-floor, 616,785 square-foot facility, opened its doors Feb. 8, 2004, becoming the first full-service children's hospital in the region. Each year, inpatient stays and surgical procedures have grown, remaining at near capacity and exceeding all projections.

The need for more space has been a recurring topic over the past few years with the Family Advisory Council, said Monica Flynn Urness, chair of the group and mother to Devin, a cancer survivor.

“When the new hospital opened back in 2004, it filled a crucial need for families in this region,” said Urness. “Bottom line, the No. 1 concern of a parent with a sick child is to find the best medical care possible. Having an even better Children's Hospital facility that will reach even more children is icing on the cake.”

In fiscal year 2010 — from July 2009 to July 2010 — Children's Hospital had 257,743 pediatric visits, and the physician clinics saw more than 182,000 patients.

During the same period, the Emergency Department treated 53,376 children, up from 48,626 children the previous year.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CONSTRUCTION

In preparation for two expansion projects at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, we would like to inform faculty, staff and patients about several upcoming changes to traffic patterns around the hospital. For more information, go to www.vanderbilthealth.com/traffic.

Doctor's Office Tower expansion

• Barricades and safety fencing have been installed near the corner of Children's Way and 23rd Avenue to prepare for the build-out of the 10th Floor of the Doctor's Office Tower.

• Beginning Saturday, Feb. 26, one lane will be closed on Children's Way, but the street will remain open to two-way traffic during construction.

• A uniformed Vanderbilt University Police Department officer will be stationed at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and Children's Way to help direct traffic. Signs also will be posted to help guide traffic flow. Construction is slated to last about 12 months.

Children's Hospital expansion

• On Monday, March 7, preliminary work begins for the hospital's expansion project. Pierce Avenue will become a one-way street between Medical Center Drive and 23rd Avenue. The one-way section will flow westbound, toward 24th Avenue.

• The sky walk around Children's Hospital leading to the bridge over Pierce will be closed. Employee pedestrian traffic will be directed to ground level for access to The Vanderbilt Clinic and Preston Research buildings. Patient and family pedestrian traffic will be rerouted through Children's Hospital. Detour signs will be posted.

• The Green Route shuttle pick-up area will be moved from 23rd Avenue to Children's Way just west of the 23rd Avenue intersection.

• The Valet drop-off area in front of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Preston Research Building will be available for patients/guests only. All employees and other non-patient traffic should avoid Pierce Avenue for the duration of construction, also expected to take about 12 months.

• A VUPD officer will be stationed at the intersection of Pierce Avenue and 23rd Avenue to assist automobile and pedestrian traffic flow. Additional traffic direction will be provided at key intersections along Children's Way during evening rush hour.

• Also, on the weekend of March 26-27, Pierce Avenue will be closed to all traffic for the installation of a construction crane. All traffic will need to detour via Children's Way.
 

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