Construction Update Blog
Week of January 9
Special Guests on My Tours
This week, I was privileged to have an old friend and former co-worker on a tour of the South Wing. This was the second time that we've had a special guest on one of our tours, and it was so very nice to be able to do this for these long-term retired employees.
The first special guest we had was our former Medical Director, Dr. Betty Lowe. She toured with us on August 12, and we were able to show her the entire building. Dr. Lowe worked here at ACH for many years, starting in the 1975 and retiring in 2001. She was instrumental in improving children's healthcare throughout the state of Arkansas, working with state and national political and governmental figures to improve access to healthcare. Dr. Lowe toured with our President/CEO, Dr. Jon Bates, our VP of Facilities, Larry Beckius, and yours truly, and it was by far one of my favorite tours in all the ones I have done over the past year. Dr. Lowe was all smiles and had such great stories of the past that she shared with us while we walked around. She was impressed with how far ACH has come over the years, and she especially loved the view of our hospital history that one can see when standing on our atrium bridge on the 4th floor of the South Wing.
The atrium bridge is the elevated walkway that takes a person from the current Main Hospital building all the way to the West Wing without having to go through a patient unit or other area. It overlooks the inside atrium garden area as well as the exterior roof garden. From the walkway, one can see all of the hospital history in the various buildings on the northern part of our campus. We have the original building, where the Arkansas Children's Home Society and Hospital was originally located when we were formed in 1912. Directly in front of that building, to the south, is a structure completed in the 1970s that houses our current Infant-Toddler Unit (ITU) and some offices. To the right and east of those buildings is our Main Hospital, completed in a series of construction times in the 1980s, with the PICU, new main lobby, and operating rooms that were completed in 2003. Finally, to the right and west of those buildings is our West Wing, completed in 1997. It houses our Cardiovascular Intensive Care and Neonatal Intensive Care Units as well as some clinics. Showing tourists this is a highlight of every tour, and it's quite fascinating to see how we have evolved from a small, one-building hospital to a large campus with more than 30 buildings!
The second special guest we had on the tour was our former Senior VP & Chief Nursing Officer, Christie Berner. Christie served in that role from 1996 through 2008, when she retired. She toured with us on January 3, and she was also very delighted to see the progress we've made. Since she was also here during a lot of the previous building projects, she had a lot of questions about how we were coming along on the South Wing and how this would provide even better services for our patients and families. She was such fun, and I truly enjoyed her being on the tour!
Several days a week I have the pleasure of taking tourists through our South Wing building for their first visit. I always enjoy showing off the facility and the progress we are making. It is even more enjoyable when it's a long-term, retired staffer returning to see how far we've come!
Director of Facilities Planning
Arkansas Children's Hospital