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Updated 10:00 AM February 20, 2006




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Regents approve new look for children's and women's hospital

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The future home of children's and women's health care at the U-M Health System (UMHS) will span the length of two football fields and include private pediatric patient rooms with wireless computer access and family areas, a dedicated pediatric emergency and urgent care center with Hazmat capabilities, space to accommodate an estimated 4,500 births each year, and an outdoor garden park.
Designs for the new women's and children's hospital include a 12-story inpatient facility and 9-story clinic tower. (Image courtesy HKS Architects)

The Board of Regents Feb. 17 approved the schematic design for the new C.S. Mott Children's and Women's Hospital. Regents also approved the revised scope of the project—from 1 million square feet to 1.1 million square feet—as well as a budget of $523 million to support incremental space, and to accomplish Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The project, designed by HKS Architects, will be funded through philanthropy and hospital reserves, and is scheduled to open in spring 2011.

UMHS has raised $46 million toward the new hospital building project, including a $25 million grant from the Flint-based C.S. Mott Foundation. UMHS will continue for the duration of the building project its successful fund-raising campaign, led by Regent David Brandon and his wife, Jan, and head football coach Lloyd Carr and his wife, Laurie.

"We've designed a magnificent state-of-the-art facility that will be a warm and compassionate environment for our patients and their families to receive care, as well as provide us with the space and flexibility for future medical advancements," says Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs and UMHS CEO. "We're proud that the facility's design will enable us to provide the highest standard of care to our patients for many more years to come, and maintain our longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship through pursuit of LEED certification."

Located on the terrace site of the medical campus, the facility will consist of a
9-story clinic tower and a 12-story inpatient facility that will bridge services within the same medical disciplines to create a programmatic approach to patient care on each floor. For example, the obstetric and gynecological clinics will be linked to the Women's Hospital Birth Center (WHBC), and the Michigan Congenital Heart Center will reside on its own floor.

Prominent in both size and scope, the facility will incorporate wide spans of glass to bring in natural lighting, and provide inpatient rooms with scenic views of the Nichols Arboretum and Huron River. The design will include curved forms and building insets that relate to the arboretum. A sky-lit canopy will greet patients and guests, while a two-story lobby and waiting area overlooking outdoor courtyards will create an inviting entry.

Within the facility, 855,000 square feet will be designated for inpatient space and 245,000 square feet will be devoted to clinic and office space, which includes about 180,000 square feet of shell space for future growth and expansion.

Plans for the hospital include 16 pediatric operating rooms, four pediatric surgical procedure rooms, four cesarean section suites, 20 rooms for antepartum or postpartum care and 264 private inpatient beds upon opening with capacity for an additional 84 beds in the future. The children's and women's hospitals currently utilize 240 beds. All inpatient rooms will be equipped with special Hepa filtering air handling.

"In our current facility it's become a challenge for us to keep up with increasing patient demand and make room for current advances in medical technology and treatment," says Patricia Warner, associate hospital director for Children's and Women's Services.

Focused on creating a family-centered environment, building project coordinators sought feedback from patients and their families. All patient rooms will be private, have a window and will include a place for a family member to stay. Within the WHBC, the labor, delivery and recovery rooms will be 300-360 square feet to allow access to state-of-the-art care, as well as space for families to celebrate the birth of a new baby.

"The new hospital provides us with an optimal environment to become the premier pediatric and obstetric facility in the country," says Dr. Cosmas J.M. van de Ven, director of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine in the Women's Hospital.

The planned 300-square-foot pediatric inpatient rooms will include a computer capable of connecting to classrooms and home, and providing access to the Internet and other educational programs. All rooms will be configured for wireless technology, which can be utilized by parents as well as health care providers.

"We wanted to create an environment that not only maximized patient care, but that is comforting, caring and welcoming to our patients and their families, and that's why their feedback was so important to this project," says registered nurse Loree Collett, operational planning lead for the Children's and Women's Building Project.

Families also will feel more at home in the new facility. A family resource center—complete with a library, teaching rooms, computer access and a place to meet in private with social workers and other health care providers—will be located in the main lobby. The area will offer entertainment and other activities to help reduce stress for parents, siblings and other family members, and will open into an outdoor garden park that will have play space for children and a reflection area. A meditation space, gift shop and food service area will be located nearby.

Also incorporated into the design are a workout room, a family accommodation area—dorm-style living area for parents with children in the pediatric ICU—and greeters on every floor to increase security and provide directions for visitors.

Teams of more than 450 current Mott and Women's faculty and staff were instrumental in the design and layout of the facility. Spaces will be available for health care providers and related staff, including social workers, to meet for communication with one another or family members.

Looking toward the future, the operating rooms have been designed to anticipate advancements in portable imaging technology, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Plans call for increasing imaging technology and interventional radiology in the facility, and expanding Mott's ability to do minimally invasive surgery.

"Beyond building a premier site for caring for children with surgical and medical problems, the new hospital will allow us to provide specialty training in a state-of-the-art setting to the future surgeons of Michigan's children," says Dr. Ronald Hirschl, surgeon-in-chief at Mott.

Additionally, Mott will be home to one of the only pediatric emergency medicine centers in the state. With a separate entrance off East Medical Center Drive, the center will be staffed by pediatric health care workers, and will be Hazmat capable, allowing it to be fully prepared to care for patients in the event of a major outbreak or disaster. A helipad atop the 12-story tower with direct elevator access to the pediatric emergency center will provide young patients flown in by Survival Flight with immediate access to emergency and urgent care.

In all, the hospital has been designed to provide a new and larger home for specialty services not offered anywhere else in Michigan for newborns, children and pregnant women, such as the pediatric liver transplant program, the Level I Pediatric Trauma Program, the Pediatric and Adolescent Home Ventilator Program, and the Craniofacial Anomalies Program, high-risk pregnancy services and specialty gynecological services.

The facility also will be home to numerous pediatric specialty clinics, including psychology, autism and orthopaedics. It will include an area for adult and pediatric bone marrow transplant patients and pediatric non-cancer infusion, with a dedicated infusion pharmacy on the floor.

"The hospital will have the infrastructure necessary for us to continue to deliver the very best care available anywhere, and ensure the next generation of physicians and nurses go out into practice with the most advanced experience possible," says Dr. Valerie Castle, chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Since the Women's and Mott hospitals opened in 1950 and 1969, respectively, patient care, research and medical technology have made extraordinary advances, making the need for a new facility to meet increasing demand and accommodate future research, education and clinical care innovations that much more vital.

Once the building project is complete, the existing Mott hospital will be used to benefit the entire Health System, primarily adult services.

To learn more about the fundraising campaign and the building project, visit

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