RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The VCU Children’s Hospital broke ground for a new inpatient facility Saturday morning on the corner of Marshall Street and 11th Street.
The event kicked off construction on a $350 million facility that will complete an entire city block dedicated to the care of kids.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, with the help of patients from the children’s hospital, pitted shovels in colorful sand reflecting the children hospital’s logo.
The hospital will replace existing inpatient unit beds and consolidate inpatient and emergency care to one location, adjacent to the outpatient Children’s Pavilion on the VCU Medical Center campus.
A crowd of over 300 watched as everyone from medical staff to political leaders advocated for the new space.
The 16-story, 500,000 square foot building will feature 86 private inpatient beds, 10 observation beds, an emergency department with multiple treatment, triage and trauma rooms, and four levels of below-ground parking.
For parents like Marisa Cherry, this new facility represents more than just a building.
“This is a great day for Richmond and for the Commonwealth of Virginia, but my role is (to) absolutely remind you that some of the families will be experiencing the worst days of their lives in this hospital,” said Cherry during the ceremony.
Cherry said it’s because of facilities like the Children’s Hospital that her daughter Lauren survived her cancer diagnosis back in 2013.
“Two amazing neurosurgeons spent eight hours removing an egg sized tumor from the center of her brain,” said Cherry.
Cherry is a member of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR) Family Advisory Network. Families like her that helped to shaped the services that will be in the new inpatient facility by providing input during the planning process.
“The other things that really matter to me are the services behind the scenes that people don’t think about like the radiology and the nutrition,” said Cherry. “It’s a moment that you realize you’re able to participate and give back and make things easier for the people that come after you.”
During the ceremony, the foundation will conduct a $100 million capital campaign to support construction of the hospital and announced Saturday that it will match the first $25 million in gifts from the community, in addition to matching a separate $5 million gift.
“VCU is a world class hospital. It’s already has a nationally recognized cancer center; to add a world class children’s facility I think the community and the Commonwealth will meet those goals,” said Senator Marker Warner.
Deconstruction of the old pavilion is currently underway, ensuring an entire city block will be dedicated to children’s health.
“I’m extremely optimistic and hopeful that it will live up to everyone’s expectations,” said Cherry.
The inpatient facility is expected to be finished at the end of 2022.
Gifts to help build the hospital can be made, here.
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