Upstate News

August 23, 2004
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Design plans for Children’s Hospital unveiled

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Families, patients and visitors to the Central New York Children’s Hospital at University Hospital will ascend in an elevator 80-feet to a “tree house” that will serve as the special entrance to the Central New York Children’s Hospital. Once inside, families, patients and visitors will find a state-of-the-art patient care facility with extra special amenities, including a teen lounge, performance center, cafés, a family resource room and an indoor park.

These highlights are included in the final design plans for University Hospital’s $99 million six-story vertical expansion, which, in addition to the two floors dedicated the children’s hospital, features patient care floors for cardiovascular, neurology and oncology services. The project’s architect, Karlsberger Companies, presented the final design plans last week.

“The proposed design of our vertical expansion brings to Central New York a health care facility that will enhance and enrich the care of patients and provide their families with a welcoming and warm environment,” said Ben Moore, vice president for hospital operations and executive director of University Hospital.

The most unique feature of the children’s hospital design is what architects call the ?tree house,’ which will serve as the entrance to the children’s hospital. Patients, families and visitors will enter a ground-level reception area and then proceed to an elevator that will carry them eight stories to the 11th floor, the first floor of the children’s hospital. Upon exiting the elevator, patients and families will step out to large area featuring a café, lounges, play areas, a gift shop and ample seating areas for relaxing away from the patient’s bedside.

In addition to more dining space, the 12th or top floor of the children’s hospital will feature an indoor park, with significant plantings, park benches and other features.

“The environment we are building here will be extremely family-centered,” said Thomas Welch, M.D., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. “This will be a place that families can comfortably gather and be with their child throughout his or her hospitalization.”

While the tree house entrance of the children’s hospital may be the most talked about feature, the vertical expansion will offer significant upgrades to patient care areas.

The children’s hospital will feature 50 private patient rooms with enough space for a pullout sofa or bed to accommodate parents who want to stay the night in their child’s room. There will also be separate family sleep quarters on the 11th floor of the children’s hospital. Nursing stations will be located between each room to put nurses in closer proximity to patients when not providing patient care. A 15-bed pediatric intensive care unit will be located on the 12th floor. Even the lighting specifications have been redesigned to provide patients with warmer, more natural light to replace the glow of fluorescent fixtures.

Other design highlights of the children’s hospital include: a pediatric chapel or meditation space, breast-feeding rooms, family shower area, age appropriate play spaces, family activity rooms, and private conference and consult rooms to accommodate physician and family discussions.

A family resource center will serve as a library or learning center where families can go to get more information on their child’s illness and research other issues. The center will also make available to families and patients, videos, DVDs, games and other items, such as light reading materials.

Discussion over the design began earlier this year and included input from various groups and individuals, including parents and patients.

Sue Navagh, a member of the Parent Advisory Council at University Hospital, who participated in numerous design meetings, said the final design will please families. “Many of the needs and desires that families have regarding family-centered medical care have been incorporated in this design plan, such as sleeping rooms and family resource centers,” she said. “Hospital administrators and the architects have listened carefully to the needs of the families, and the design reflects that.”

The two-story children’s hospital will increase the amount of dedicated space to pediatric medicine at University Hospital from 18,000 square feet to 87,000.

Each of the other floors of the vertical expansion, which are earmarked for cardiovascular, oncology and neurosurgery, will feature 46 private patient rooms and space to accommodate an overnight stay by a family member. Some special care areas, such as the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, will feature anterooms to guard against infection. One floor will be used to house the heating, ventilating and air-cooling systems.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in Spring 2005, with an opening date set for December 2007.

Total cost of the project is $99 million. University Hospital received the authority to finance the construction through bonding earlier this year when governor and the legislature approved bonding legislation. Funds for the children’s hospital are being raised through a community-wide fundraising campaign. Officials have raised $9.2 million toward the $15 million campaign goal. The children’s hospital campaign will pay for upgrades to the children’s hospital, such as the special entrance, endowed research professorships and to help furnish and equip the hospital.

The public will have a chance to see the final design plans for the Central New York Children’s Hospital at the New York State Fair Aug. 26 through Sept. 6. Plans will be on display at the children’s hospital booth located in the Science and Industry Building.

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