On Friday, Feb. 16, Children’s Hospital Colorado patients and team members joined a team from GE Johnson Construction Company, its sub-contractors and hospital leaders to raise a steel beam on the final and highest floor of the future Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs. The beam traveled across southern Colorado all week collecting signatures and smiley faces from patients, hospital team members and community members.
“Today marks an exciting milestone that has taken this team years of planning and months of hard work,” said Greg Raymond, regional vice president for Children’s Colorado’s southern Colorado care system. “We are deeply honored by the support of this community, and I am so proud of this amazing team – comprised of Children’s Colorado, GE Johnson and so many others – that have had a hand in getting us here today. And as a father of four children who spend a lot of time in our urgent care and physician clinics, I am excited for what today means for children and families in our community: that the specialized inpatient and emergency care they deserve is one step closer to being here.”
Patients look forward to care closer to home
During the ceremony, 11-year-old Children’s Colorado heart patient Lauren Schwamb and 12-year-old cancer patient and event emcee Carter Gates, worked with Dave Kenney, superintendent for GE Johnson, to give the construction team the go-ahead to lift the signed beam to the top of what is quickly becoming the new hospital.
“My daughter was born in heart failure and was three years old when she underwent a heart transplant,” said Christi Schwamb, Lauren’s mother. “We’ve been to children’s hospitals all over the country, but Children’s Colorado has become our home – our family. Given the complexity of Lauren’s case, we frequently travel to Denver for treatment since no ER in the area can care for her condition. We have had to pull over to give her emergency injections on the way to Aurora. So, when I say this hospital will change lives, I know it’s true because it will change ours.”
Major gift to support new hospital
During the event, Raymond also announced a major $1 million commitment made by the El Pomar Foundation to provide support for the new hospital, which mirrors the foundation’s focus on promoting the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.
“The trustees of the El Pomar Foundation are pleased to support the building of southern Colorado’s first comprehensive children’s hospital,” said William J. Hybl, chairman and CEO of the El Pomar Foundation. “Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs’ expanding presence is already attracting the best hearts and minds in medicine and bringing care closer to home for the more than 225,000 children in the Pikes Peak region. The new hospital will also be a key economic development asset for our region, and a critical resource for thousands of military families.”
Hospital at a glance:
- During construction, the project will have a total economic impact of $240.5 million and employ 1,400 workers
- The building itself will cost more than $160 million
- The new hospital will create 700 jobs and produce $42 million in annual earnings for employees
- The hospital will occupy 294,000 square feet over five levels, plus a basement, and contain 110 inpatient beds
- Major services include a neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, creative play area for patients’ siblings, a sleep study lab and the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
- The hospital will house:
- The first pediatric-only operating rooms in the region, which will contain specialized equipment designed for children and teens
- The region’s first pediatric-only emergency department