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Construction Update Blog:

Week of November 7

I find it amazing that every time I go to the South Wing, I notice something new that has been built, installed, or painted.  Now, this would not seem weird to most people who only go into the building occasionally, but since I am in the building three to four times a week, it is amazing! 

Last week, the contractors began installing the patient headwall units in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) private rooms and patient pod.  In these areas, the patient headwalls are actually cabinets, specially made for ACH, that house all of the medical gases, electrical and data outlets, and other items necessary for the patient's care.  The headwalls in the NICU are manufactured by AMICO, and they are almost identical to the headwalls we have in our existing NICU-East area.  Installing 25 of those takes a bit of time, as each one is connected near the ceiling to medical gas piping, data and telephone cabling, and electrical services.  When you see one being installed, it looks somewhat like an alien spaceship coming in for a landing - so many cables and wires!  It will take about 4 weeks to get everything connected in these headwalls, but once everything is installed, the NICU patient rooms will look much more finished-out than they have previously.  The headwalls were the final real piece of equipment for these special rooms for the teeny-tiny neonates that we care for here at ACH.

Also last week, the contractors installed one of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) boom headwalls, made by Hill-Rom.  These booms hang down from a black metal plate that is mounted on a heavy-duty steel ceiling structure known as Unistrut.  This Unistrut system is engineered to hold the weight of the booms, plus the pressures and such placed on the booms from movement in the rooms.  We joke that the Unistruts in the CVICU could hold up the whole South Wing, as stout as they are built!  These booms are just like the NICU headwalls, in that they hold all of the patient care items - gases, electrical and data wiring, and the patient monitors.  They will even hold the Care Hub system for the patients!

In general, the first floor Emergency Department (ED) and Hematology Oncology Clinic areas of the South Wing are really starting to look complete.  Most of the flooring and cabinets have been installed, the nurse call system is installed, and the ceiling tiles are being placed in the ceiling grid.  There are card readers on the walls, and the murals are installed in the Hem-Onc Clinic. 

Two really cool features of the first floor are coming together nicely - the Bridge to Wellness and the Healing Garden.  The Bridge to Wellness, located in the ED, is the main hallway down which most ED patients will travel.   We located it there because when patients come into the ED they are sick or injured.  Crossing over that bridge will also transition them to wellness!  The bridge has an actual wooden bridge structure placed on the walls, the flooring is a wood plank vinyl (although we've been told it looks like real wood!), and our interior designer, Kathryn Jones, will paint a mural on the walls to make one feel as if she is actually walking outdoors on a real bridge.  It's one of my favorite features in the whole building.

The Healing Garden is another of my favorite spots.  It is located adjacent to the Hem Onc Clinic, and it is only accessible for the patients and families of that clinic.  The garden was built to give those potentially immunocompromised patients a place to get outdoors, without being exposed to others who might have an infectious illness.  As you can imagine, even a cold or the flu could be very detrimental to a patient with a compromised immune system, such as someone going through chemotherapy.  The garden is a nice, warm, and inviting spot, and it will be filled with play equipment, wonderful landscaping, and an entwined fish water feature.  The contractors have installed the stamped, stained concrete flooring material, which really helps with the outdoor garden feel.  I can hardly wait until they plant the flowers and trees, as it will complete the area nicely!

Hope you all have a wonderful week.  We will write this blog weekly, to keep you updated.  If you a question, please email me at

Lori Howard
Director of Facilities Design & Planning
Arkansas Children's Hospital
Design Project Manager, South Wing

Arkansas Children's Hospital
1 Children's Way
Little Rock, AR 72202-3591

Call: 501-364-1100
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