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Mercy Hospital in Springfield held a ceremony today to celebrate what will become its new children’s hospital. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser was in attendance and has this report.
“Today we are a community, a children’s community.”
That was Chief Nursing Officer Linda Knodel’s message for the crowd gathered outside of the East Wing of Mercy Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Jay Guffey is the Senior Vice President and Chief operating Officer of Mercy Springfield. He says the idea for the remodeling came from a “community master plan” conducted in 2011.
“One of the things that was most important to our communities was taking care of our kids. So Mercy then began upon a process to say, ok how do we improve the services and offer more services for kids within our community?” Guffey said.
The solution was to renovate the hospital’s east wing and turn it into a “true children’s hospital.” All children’s services offered by the hospital will eventually be housed under this one roof. Guffey says this will make it more convenient for parents, but it will also help the kids.
“Once they’re here, being kid friendly it’s an opportunity that it’s not like a normal hospital structure it’s really being designed with the kids in mind. So that as parents come in here they can feel that it’s safe, they can feel that it’s done appropriately, and that it can be done in a way that keeps the children entertained as they go through a process that’s sometimes very difficult,” says Guffey.
Dr. Kyle John describes the remodeling process like a body. The hospital will get new skin in the form of new walls and windows. New guts will come as mechanical elements are replaced, and a new entrance will serve as a welcoming smile. The sixth floor will serve as the hospital’s hair and brains as it houses a brand new Ronald McDonald house for families of patients and the pediatric intensive care unit.
“So when we think about the foundation or our feet, we think about…we need to think about our flagship project, and that of course is our new St. Jude’s space,” said John.
The other new elements will be the hospital's muscles, and they include things like food and retail space, outpatient services, and the Teddy Bear Club which gives support to new and expecting mothers.
The remodeling will be done in phases, the first of which will include the creation of the Ronald McDonald house. That is expected to be completed this fall. Plans for other floors in the wing are still being developed. The remodeling is expected to be completed in its entirety within the next five to six years.
For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.