Officials with the University of Rochester Medical Center Thursday unveiled the brand-new design for the expanded Golisano Children's Hospital, slated to open in 2015.
Groundbreaking is set for August 2012 on the $142 million, eight-story tower, which will be connected to the University's Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital.
The new hospital will feature larger, private patient rooms, a full medical library for information on illnesses and injuries, and a hospitality center for young patient's families, including lodging, shower areas, and a cafeteria.
A two-story indoor playground is also planned on the 6th and 7th floors of the 245,000 sq. ft. structure.
"There will be a place for parents to sleep with the children," explained hospital CEO, Dr. Bradford Berk. "The rooms will be divided into three portions: a family portion, a patient portion and a care portion. They are double the size of current rooms."
That's important for Fina Santiago. She's spent the better part of the past three years living at Golisano hospital, where her son Nicholas has been receiving respiratory treatments.
"Even being able to get (him) into a bathroom with his wheelchair, is huge," said Santiago. "The private rooms are definitely a perk; I think the overall appeal and the look of the hospital is what's going to inspire a lot of families."
The expansion is being hailed as an improvement on the current model, which has child patients inside the Strong Hospital facility, and sometimes forces children to scattered throughout the hospital.
URMC Chief Pediatrician Nine Schor emphasized that with the expansion, the hospital is now bringing child healthcare into the 21st century.
"35 years ago, the thinking was that the family should be spared the anguish of being with their child when medical treatment was being undertaken," she said. "We now know that was exactly the wrong attitude.
"The proper attitude now is that the family should be included in the planning and the understanding of the child's illness."
Most of the hospital will open and be functional in 2015; full completion is slated for 2016.