Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Set for Growth

ChildrensHosp_sign_silo_smallJust six years have passed since Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital opened its doors at Vanderbilt, but already the facility has outgrown its space. Hospital officials in June announced plans for a multiphase, multiyear expansion project with an estimated total cost of $250 million.

The Phase 1 expansion, with a price tag of $25 million to $30 million in construction costs, will consist of a 30,000-square-foot addition to the northwest corner of the hospital, across from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The expansion will be built atop the Children’s Hospital emergency department.

This first-phase expansion will add needed acute, neonatal intensive care and medical-surgical beds, and also will allow for increased space to house a growing number of physician scientists who care for Middle Tennessee’s youngest patients. Surrounding a patient-friendly atrium, the additional neonatal, acute care and medical-surgical beds will extend the existing patient care areas on the building’s fourth through eighth floors.

“As a world-leading research university, Vanderbilt has a responsibility to discover new cures for children with life-threatening diseases while providing the finest possible child-centered care for children throughout the region,” says Dr. Jonathan Gitlin, chair of pediatrics and assistant vice chancellor for child and maternal health. “Expanding our facilities will allow us to identify new and better ways to help children with cancer, heart disease, and many other serious conditions.”

The expansion also will increase capacity to accommodate premature babies born at outlying hospitals who are then transferred to Children’s Hospital. The new space will allow Children’s Hospital to expand its Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation program, as well as its Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care and Congenital Heart Disease programs. Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer these services.

As part of the hospital’s expansion, programmatic enhancements targeting three areas of childhood disease prevalent throughout Middle Tennessee—prematurity, childhood cancer and childhood heart disease—will be incorporated into the new space.

Construction is planned for fall, pending approval from the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. In addition, $20 million in programmatic investments are planned with the first-phase expansion.

Since its opening in February 2004, patient occupancy has remained consistently high at Children’s Hospital. Within months of opening, the number of inpatient admissions and surgical procedures exceeded all projections. During fiscal year 2009 there were 235,849 pediatric visits at the hospital, and more than 171,000 children were seen in its clinics. Last year the hospital’s emergency department cared for 48,626 children.

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