Nationwide Children's Hospital Breaks Ground for New Main Hospital

September 22, 2008

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman joined Nationwide Children’s Hospital officials today at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 12-floor main hospital building encompassing 720,000 square feet.  The new hospital is slated to open in 2012, corresponding with the city’s bicentennial celebration.

The entire hospital campus master plan, first announced in 2005, is expected to create 2,000 additional jobs and a positive economic impact of $1.3 billion.  When completed, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is expected to be the second largest pediatric hospital and research center in the U.S.

Significant developments have provided the opportunity to expand plans for the new main hospital since it was first announced three years ago.  Growing demand for inpatient and emergency department care has far exceeded original projections.  In 1998, the hospital accommodated 400,000 patient visits which grew to 700,000 patient visits by 2005, now projected to increase to one million by 2012.  In addition, acquisition of property by Nationwide Children’s Hospital on the west side of Parsons Avenue presented development opportunities for an expanded campus toward Downtown Columbus.  Thirdly, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) I70/I71 reconfiguration plan will establish Parsons Avenue as a primary gateway to Downtown Columbus via the south side.

The campus master plan and new main hospital, an approximate $800 million investment, will add more than one million square feet of clinical and research space to the existing two million square-foot downtown campus. The expansion will be funded through a combination of internal support, bonds and philanthropy. 

“We’ve made significant progress since we first announced our strategic master plan, nearing completion of a new clinical research building, beginning construction on a new green energy plant and opening a 1,500-space parking garage,” said Abigail Wexner, chairman of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Inc. and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Boards of Trustees.  “But the centerpiece of our plan is the new main hospital that will enable us to provide the best possible care available anywhere in the most modern, technologically-advanced and sensitive way.  We’re using a nationally-recognized team of architects and designers to create a facility that uses best practices from hospitals around the country and innovative ideas to set the standard for what a pediatric hospital can be.”

“Our strategic plan expands our capacity to transform the care we can provide for our children as our responsibility continues to grow,” Wexner continued.  “Nationwide Children’s is a community treasure, providing pediatric care for 37 Central and Southeastern Ohio counties as well as to children from across the country and increasingly, the world.   Our mission is clearly to deliver the highest level of care available anywhere for children regardless of a family’s ability to pay.  Last year, Nationwide Children’s provided more than $85 million in uncompensated care and community benefits and as the community grows, so does the need.” 

The new main hospital will include:
-Private patient rooms, designed with a family zone that includes enhanced sleeping accommodations for parents, expanded personal space, private showers and internet access; a patient zone with hidden medical equipment, individual room temperature control, and patient entertainment systems; and a care-giver zone with electronic medical records, state of the art monitoring, and access to all necessary patient care technology.  When combined with renovation of existing facilities, the new main hospital will create a total estimated hospital capacity of 489 beds. 

-An Emergency Department that will nearly double in size from the current 38-bed facility and will include increased support for Ohio’s first Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, as well as enhanced family support services, and dedicated specialty rooms such as child abuse assessment, and dental, eye and orthopedic emergencies.

-A new Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant unit which will combine inpatient beds, outpatient clinic and “Day Hospital” into one convenient unit with 36 inpatient beds and 15 infusion beds; a new neurodiagnostics center to house 48 beds with EEG, sleep and inpatient services; and an entire floor of 30 beds devoted to pediatric intensive care patients with a second intensive care unit of 20 beds dedicated to heart and transplant care.

-A “performance space” which will include a theater with advanced audio-visual equipment and seating to accommodate wheelchairs and beds.

-Six acres of park-like green space in front of the new hospital, adjacent to Livingston Park.

-Family lounges on every floor, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, continuation of the on-demand room service for patients introduced last year, and age-appropriate playrooms throughout the new hospital.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital representatives have been soliciting input throughout the planning process from the surrounding community concerning the hospital’s growth and enhancement opportunities for Southeast Columbus related to the I70/I71 ODOT reconfiguration, the redesign of Parsons Avenue, local road improvements, pedestrian safety, traffic flow enhancements and expanded hospital green space. 

“We share with our neighbors a common commitment for a vibrant residential and commercial district in Southeast Columbus,” said Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Steve Allen, MD.  “We are committed to working with our community in exploring opportunities to improve and enhance where we work and live.” 

Through expansion of programs, research and facilities, Nationwide Children’s has become one of the country’s five largest children’s hospitals treating patients from every U.S. state and 12 foreign countries with more than 759,000 patient visits in the past year.  Nationwide Children’s is also home to one of the nation’s top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded free-standing pediatric research centers and The Ohio State University College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.  External funding to The Research Institute has almost doubled over the last seven years, from $20 million in 2000 to $49.4 million in 2007, and it is expected to attract $268.6 million in external support over the next five years making it one of the fastest growing pediatric research institutes in the U.S.

“Our challenge is broad and encompassing and to meet it, we are investing across the board:  the best doctors, best researchers, best staff, best facilities,” Allen said. “There is no shortcut to providing the best care to our children.”

“Our long-term expansion plans are ultimately expected to generate $1.3 billion in new regional economic activity,” Wexner added.  “But the ultimate impact of our expansion goes far beyond dollars and cents – it will be measured by the growing vitality of our neighborhood, the increasing national recognition of Ohio as a healthcare destination and – most importantly – by the growing number of children who are helped by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”

Additional components of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital strategic master site plan:
• A third research building projected at 150,000 square feet with construction to begin in 2009, slated for completion in 2012.

• A four-story facility to house Nationwide Children's Hospital's Surgery Center, as well as a Gastroenterology suite and Clinical Psychology.  Two floors will be dedicated to research, including space for the Center for Biobehavioral Health, the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice and the Center for Mathematical Medicine.)The facility is slated to open October 2008.

• A new 1,500-space parking facility which opened in early 2008.

• Ongoing expansion of academic faculty offices and educational space through renovation of existing inpatient facilities.

• A new green energy plant currently under construction.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.6 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at