Wonder Tower at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU on track to open 2023

The space is designed to be more visually inviting with bright colors and a James River critters theme.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:43 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Soon, kids in need of medical care will have their very own tower at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

It’s called the “Wonder Tower,” and part of the goal is to give kids even better medical care. Construction workers are still putting the finishing touches on the new children’s tower. The space is designed to be more visually inviting with bright colors and a James River critters theme.

“We had our children vote on what they wanted to use for themes in the building. It was like an activity, sports, or animals. They chose animals they used stickers to vote. They also chose our color palette, so while it may seem bright, which is great, kids and their families picked those color palettes,” said Tracy Lowerre, who serves as the clinical nurse liaison for the children’s tower project.

The space will have 72 inpatient beds in private rooms, allowing more areas to treat more kids. This comes at a critical time when many pediatric units are stretched thin.

“Currently, we have a lot of doubled-up rooms that we’ve had to close because of infections, COVID, you can’t cohort COVID and again, as you mentioned RSV, so what it does is we’re going to have three 24-bed units that are all available all the time,” Lowerre stated.

Right now, the pediatric floor is in the main hospital. It’s on the 7th floor, sandwiched between adult care units, which makes it harder for doctors to get from one place to another.

In the new tower, it’s simpler for patients to get to the emergency department, and doctors say it’s more efficient for them to get from one part of the building to the next.

“Once you’re to us, it’s also going to be much easier to get in and navigate. We’ll have valet parking, explained Frank Petruzella, the Medical Director for Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “We have a direct elevator that goes only directly from the entrance to the emergency department and then back down to the entrance so there’s no competing with any other floor. And then we have a separate bank of elevators that go to the rest of the hospital from our helipad all the way down to where our ambulances show up.”

Construction is expected to be finished sometime after the first of the year.

Before the tower opens in the spring of 2023, medical staff will train inside the new building to ensure they’re ready for when the first patients arrive.