Construction Update Blog:
Week of November 28
When you take folks on a tour of a building the size of the South Wing, it's like showing 100 houses in an afternoon. It's 258,000 square feet, and the average home here in Little Rock is probably about 1,500 square feet, give or take. So, I've used all of my best real estate and showmanship skills ("ta-da!") to show the building off to staff, physicians, and donors for the past 10 months. We've done 121 tours as of this morning, and we have 3 more to go. We've toured over 800 people, a lot of them staff and physicians who will be working in the building once it opens. This Friday, December 2, is our last full-building tour for staff before we begin our move-in tours after the first of the year. What's the difference? Glad you asked!
We've taken folks on these full-building tours just to give them an overall sense of the building's layout, to show off some of the special design features, and to give them a feel for the space since it's so different from many spaces within our current facilities. If you've ever visited our hospital, you may have seen the front lobby that was built in 2003, and then you may have seen some of the inpatient units that were built in the 1980s. There is a dramatic difference between the two, much like the difference one might see between a house built in 1979 and one built today. In 1979, there were very few houses with granite countertops and wall-mounted televisions, yet today, those two features are very prevalent in new houses. It's the same with a hospital, just on a larger scale.
These full-building tours were 60-90 minutes long, and we covered more than ½ mile in that time, stopping to talk about the various spaces and features along the way. It was a lot of fast-paced, start-and-stop walking. Not only did we all get to see a lot of cool stuff, but we got exercise to boot! The folks on these tours were guided every step of the way, and the tours were limited to 7 tourists at one time, to keep the herd from roaming about. With screws, nails, and cords on the floor - it is an active construction site after all - we had to make sure that everyone was safe. With only one accident - an iPhone dropped from the fourth floor walkway that bounced off the concrete on the third floor L - we were able to allow folks to see the building without incident. (The iPhone survived, thanks to its hardy cover.)
The move-in tours, on the other hand, will be for larger groups - up to 15 tourists at one time - and will only be for the people actually moving into the building. Many of the inpatient units and clinics on our campus will be staying where they are, while some are moving into the South Wing. Anyone on campus was able to sign up for the full-building tours, but to give the groups moving into the building a more in-depth look at their individual units, we will let them roam about a bit more on these move-in tours. The spaces will be much more finished-out by the time these tours start, with some being close to completion. As you can imagine, not having things in the floor to trip on is a good thing for a tour group! Imagine if when you went to the Blanchard Springs Caverns tour they had screws, nails, and cords on the trails. It would be an unpleasant experience for sure!
Next time, I'll tell a few funny tour stories and relay some of the more amusing questions we have fielded during the tours. With over 800 people, we have had quite a few funny questions.
Hope your holiday was wonderful!
Director of Facilities Planning
Arkansas Children's Hospital