ACH Transforms Pediatric Care in Arkansas with Debut of New South Wing
$121 Million Project is Hospital's Biggest Expansion
Four years after breaking ground, Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) recently opened the doors to its largest ever expansion project, the 258,000-square foot South Wing. The patient facility brings a new standard of care to families in Arkansas with the debut of an entirely new emergency department, updated intensive care units for cardiovascular and neonatal patients and five new outpatient clinics.
The South Wing adds 54 inpatient beds, allowing ACH to accommodate 370 overnight patients. Planning for the $121 million facility began in 2005, and Nabholz, Inc. started construction in 2008. The facility, designed by Cromwell Architects, is being paid for with a combination of cash reserves, philanthropic donations and bonds issued in 2009.
Donors to the $160 million Century of Possibility Centennial Campaign have provided more than $24 million to the South Wing project. Gift commitments to the campaign totaling more than $105 million have been secured and are focused on the key priorities of pediatric care, research, education and prevention.
"We have looked forward to this for more than half a decade," said ACH President and CEO Jonathan Bates, MD. "As we mark our 100th year of service to the children of Arkansas, we begin the next century with the South Wing as an outstanding resource for their care."
Families staying in the South Wing's inpatient areas will benefit from private patient rooms, specially planned landscaping and plenty of natural light. The expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) includes an eight-bed pod of nursery-style bassinettes and 17 new private rooms with bathrooms for patients transitioning to home care.
The Stella Boyle Smith Atrium that spans the third and fourth floors of the South Wing features plants native to the state and opens to the expansive Charles "Boe" and Myrna V. Adams Rooftop Garden with a playground and walking labyrinth.
"We know that being able to soak in some sunlight and play among grass helps the healing experience," Bates said. "We're excited that these elements in the South Wing can help kids get back to simply being kids faster than ever before."
The rooms in the South Wing include new features that will help ACH provide better family-centered care, like the ability to stock fresh linens and remove trash from outside the room without disturbing a sleeping child. The inpatient areas in the South Wing also include larger, more accommodating family houses, complete with comfortable seating, kitchen and dining areas, computer work space, showers and laundry facilities.
Each floor of the new South Wing was planned along the theme of "Healing is in our Nature." The décor of each unit draws on the natural beauty of Arkansas, from the river delta to the forests and mountains. Little touches reinforce the theme. Nursing desks on the first floor are designed to look like boats. Electronic panels on the ceiling of the second floor display star-gazing coordinates throughout the day and night. Light fixtures on the third floor resemble butterflies.
The expansion also outfits several existing programs with entirely new spaces. It includes a new unit for children with cancer and blood disorders, as well as a new space for sick infants and toddlers, many of whom are dependent on breathing technologies. The new Log a Load for Kids of Arkansas Emergency Department will provide cutting-edge care, complete with five trauma rooms, 33 private exam rooms, a dedicated X-ray suite and separate sick and well waiting rooms. It also features a decontamination space for better treatment of patients exposed to chemicals.
Two intensive care units will expand, as the South Wing provides additional space to their current bed counts. The David M. Clark Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, which performed a national record of 31 pediatric heart transplants in 2011, will grow to 40 private rooms for children with congenital heart defects and other cardiovascular conditions. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be able to care for as many as 100 babies a day with its growth in the South Wing. In addition to the 17 new private rooms for families learning about home care for their newborns, the NICU features a sibling playroom and an area for lactation and storage of breast milk.
Many areas of the South Wing are named in recognition of donor support, including the In Honor of Walmart and Sam's Club Associates Patient Care Floor on the first level. Mike Duke, CEO of Walmart, says the group is honored to support Arkansas Children's Hospital.
"Walmart is proud to support organizations that provide services important to our associates and customers in the communities we serve," Duke said. "Arkansas Children's Hospital provides life-saving care to children across the state, and we are proud of our long-standing relationship and partnership in serving the health care needs of children in Arkansas."
Two other floors in the building will be named, including the J.B. Hunt Transport Services Patient Care Floor on the South Wing's second level and the Will Golf 4 Kids/Color of Hope Gala Patient Care Floor on the third.
"The South Wing is an integral component of our Century of Possibility Centennial Campaign, which is the most ambitious in our history," said Charlie Whiteside, member of the hospital and foundation boards of directors. "Why this campaign at this time? The answer is clear and simple: Our children and their families deserve the best opportunities for healing and hope. The purpose of our campaign is to preserve lives and return children to good health. Such an effort is worthy of generous support by all Arkansans. As a parent and grandparent, it is my keenest desire to have the best medical resources available for each and every child."
Other key named spaces in the South Wing include the Circle of Friends Hematology-Oncology Clinic, Alton L. Miles Healing Garden, Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation Dental Clinic, Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary Infant Toddler Unit and the Roy and Christine Sturgis Concourse.
Families will find that many of the clinics their children regularly attend will be moving to the South Wing. Audiology, ENT, Neurology, Cancer and Blood Disorders, Dental and Eye Clinics are among those outpatient services moving to the new facility. The clinics and units will begin their transitions to their new spaces the last week of June. Families should look for notices about the new locations of their clinics in letters from Arkansas Children's Hospital before their child's next appointment. They can also find more information, including maps and move schedules, at archildrens.org/southwing and facebook.com/arkansaschildrenshospital.