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Two-year-old Brooks Furgholt probably won’t remember much about his first visit to Children's Hospital Colorado South Campus in Highlands Ranch, except maybe that his tummy was pretty hungry.
To prepare for his 7:30 a.m. ultrasound appointment on Thursday – which made him the facility’s first patient – he had to wait to eat breakfast.
But his mom Chrissy sure appreciated the five minute drive from her home in Highlands Ranch. (Children’s Colorado’s South Campus is located near the intersection of C-470 and Lucent Blvd.)
“I love the convenience, and am so glad I didn’t have to be on I-25 this morning,” she said, referring to the route she would have taken to the Anschutz Medical Campus. “Having Children’s Colorado as part of the Highlands Ranch community is great.”
“South Campus marks a milestone in the evolution of Children’s Colorado services and studying communities to meet their specific needs,” said Andrea Ferretti, Vice President, South Campus.
In the South Denver Metro area, that need includes 24-hour pediatric urgent care. Catherine Orendac, MD, treated the South Campus’ first urgent care patient of the day, a 9-year-old boy with a sore throat. Coincidentally, she was the same physician who treated the first patient when Children’s Colorado opened (now defunct) Aurora urgent care center in 1997. Dr. Orendac, who is the Medical Director of Children's Colorado at Parker Adventist Hospital, has now worked at eight Children’s Colorado satellite locations.
“It’s nice to bring everything under one roof in the south metro area,” she said, referring to how the South Campus will consolidate services from three Children’s Colorado locations in Littleton and Centennial. “This is a community with a lot of kids, and we can care for most of them close to home.”
Consistency with Children’s Colorado’s values and brand is evident in the facility design, safety protocols, orientation and staffing (almost half of the staff is comprised of existing employees). South Campus has established its own feel, however, with its artwork, the building’s smaller scale and plenty of windows revealing sweeping, unobstructed mountain views.
“What’s different from our hospital on Anschutz Medical Campus is that we have to function much more intimately,” Ferretti said. “With 300 staff, you know everyone.”
South Campus feels special to Alison Brent, MD, the Medical Director of Network of Care. “We have good karma down here. We have meshed so well. There’s heart in this facility.”
The transition from years of planning, months of building, days of moving and countless hours of preparation officially ended at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 19, 2013, with a sunrise ribbon cutting and blessing ceremony by Bob Flory, director of Pastoral Care. As he did with the move from downtown to Anschutz Medical Campus, Flory gave each attendee a river rock, explaining that river rocks form the foundation that creates a bed in which water can flow smoothly and with direction.
“You and many others have formed a foundation to allow this facility to flow with love and compassion as you all provide care to the kids who come through the door,” he said. “So hold your rock, be mindful of all the folks who have come together to make this opening day full of blessing. Let the rock be a source of strength, of courage for you today in particular as you begin your medical service to the community. And let it remind you of all the people who surround you with love and compassion as you open this facility today."