Columbus Children’s Hospital officials today announced a dramatic, wide ranging seven-year strategic effort including a $740 million master site plan that will change the face of health care for central Ohio children while becoming a model for what is possible in pediatric care and research nationally and internationally. The master site plan will add nearly 1 million square feet of clinical and research space to the existing downtown campus including a new 500,000 square foot main hospital building and expansion of Children’s nationally-known programs in heart, cancer, GI, neonatology and research.
“This plan will truly transform the care we can provide for our children and have a major positive economic impact on the community. It is aggressive because our responsibility is enormous,” said Abigail Wexner, chairman of the Children’s Hospital Inc. and Children’s Hospital Boards of Trustees. “Columbus Children’s is a community treasure, providing pediatric care for 37 Central and Southeastern Ohio counties. Our mission is clearly to deliver the highest level of care available anywhere for children regardless of a family’s ability to pay.” In 2004, Columbus Children’s provided more than $50 million in uncompensated care and as the community grows so does the need.
Through expansion of programs, research and facilities, Children’s has become one of the country’s five largest children’s hospitals treating patients from every U.S. state and 22 foreign countries, nearly 700,000 in all, in the past year alone. Children’s is also home to one of the nation’s top 10 free-standing pediatric research centers, based on funding received from the National Institutes of Health.
“Children’s has come so far in the last decade, our growth and improvement has been revolutionary,” adds Wexner. “We must seize this incredible opportunity to take Children’s to the next level of excellence.”
The expansion will be funded through a combination of internal support, bonds and philanthropy. An economic impact study, completed with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, estimates that the plan will generate 1,160 new jobs at Children’s, 1,000 new jobs in related business, 4,200 total population growth and 1,700 new households with 700 children enrolled in schools and could generate more than $1 billion in additional cash flow into central Ohio.
The plan includes growth of several of Children’s nationally recognized programs including Heart, Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders, Neonatology, Gastroenterology and Research. These programs attract patients from other parts of the country because of their expertise and history of success. “These programs benefit patients on a national level but the families of central Ohio realize the greatest reward because they never have to travel to receive the best possible care.” notes Keith Goodwin, Children’s President and Interim CEO. These programs attract leading physicians, research scientists and nurses. “The value of great talent cannot be overstated because great talent leads to great care,” notes Goodwin. “The best doctors need the best facilities in order to provide the best care.”
Children’s contracted with Houston-based FKP Architects to develop the long-term, comprehensive strategy. FKP is one of the nation’s leading architectural firms specializing in healthcare and research architecture and is recognized as the best facilities master planners of children’s hospitals.
“Our current campus occupies six square city blocks with approximately two million square feet of facilities,” said Goodwin. “Because of the age of our facilities, we are currently below the industry standards for patient room size and space dedicated to family amenities, nursing and support services. We have looked around the nation to identify the ‘best of the best’ in pediatric facilities and our plan is to bring those features here for our community’s children. We plan to engage local architectural and construction firms to complete this work.”
One area in particular is the need for increased emphasis on Emergency Department capability. “We’ve been recognized for superb emergency room care, but it’s a constant priority,” said Goodwin.
“Our challenge is broad and encompassing,” said Wexner. “To meet it, we’ll have to invest across the board: best doctors, best researchers, best facilities. There’s no shortcut to providing the best care to our children.”
The seven-year master site plan includes:
* Construction of a 500,000 square-foot new main hospital building slated to begin in 2008 and open in 2011. All-private patient rooms will be designed with enhanced sleeping accommodations for parents, hidden medical equipment, and expanded personal space for use by patients and their families. When combined with renovation of existing facilities, the new main hospital will create a total estimated hospital capacity of 400 beds. Also planned for the new hospital building is an expanded Emergency Department that includes increased support for Ohio’s first Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and enhanced family support services.
* A third research building in the existing research complex projected at 150,000 square feet with construction to begin in 2008.
* A three-story facility to house Gastroenterology services, Psychology and Clinical Sciences (diagnostics and clinical studies) with construction to begin mid-2006.
* A new 1,500-space parking facility with groundbreaking slated for 2006.
* Expansion of academic faculty offices and educational space through renovation of existing inpatient facilities.
* Enhanced ‘green space’ will be added around the existing Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Livingston Park. Children’s will be working closely with the city, elected officials and neighborhood groups as plans proceed.
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