Elected officials, business leaders, and local entertainers joined together on June 6th to celebrate the ground breaking of the new Erlanger Children’s Hospital and outpatient center. Donors to the “Believe” fund-raising campaign were recognized for the success of the campaign and the vision for a new Children’s Hospital which has now become reality.
When completed in 2018, the world-class, state-of-the-art facility will serve as the hub of pediatric healthcare for an entire 50,000 square foot service area. “We believe this addition to the Erlanger system will be the most important new building in the City of Chattanooga with far-reaching impact, from pediatric treatment, medical education and technology, to research and economic development,” Erlanger President and CEO Kevin M. Spiegel said. “I get to work with the best doctors, nurses, and hospital staff in the country. They all have made donations and keep inspiring me everyday.”
The new pediatric center will ensure the highest level of care and services for more than a million children in a five-state area and employ more than 250 people. The $40 million investment – funded predominantly by private donations – also represents a huge economic impact to the community. The new treatment center will serve as the gateway to a Wellness and Innovation District and spark the continued transformation of E. Third Street.
Erlanger Health Systems have already had about 4,000 donors according to Tom Edd Wilson, campaign chairman. A few donors have donated $1 million, such as the City of Hamilton County. There has also been an anonymous donor of $4 million.
Mayor Andy Berke states, “Chattanooga is a city that sticks together. If something needs to be done, the city of Chattanooga comes together and gets it done.”
Kim White, president & CEO of River City Company, spoke on the importance of this new facility, and the dramatic impact it will have on the revitalization of the Third Street Corridor. “What started out as a dream for Erlanger has turned into a dream for the city. An area full of cars will become an area full of people, walk ways, stores and businesses.”
University of Tennessee Head Football Coach Butch Jones made a special appearance in honor of the occasion. Following the Woodmore Elementary school bus crash last November, Coach Jones brought UT linebacker Jalan Reeves-Mabin and running back Alvin Kamara to Children’s Hospital to visit with the children injured in the crash and their families. “Their visit made a huge impact on our patients, their families and our staff,” said Don Mueller, CEO of Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, explaining that “Coach Jones felt a close connection to us and wanted to come back as we celebrate this momentous occasion.”
According to Mueller, there will be four telemedicine suites “which will transform the way children are being treated today.” Other unique services include centers for child psychology, physical therapy and hypertension, as well as the Childhood Healthy Eating and Active Living Center (C-HEAL) specifically to address pediatric obesity.
Erlanger health System has made many culture partners throughout this process. “Welcoming patients to the lobby of the new Children’s Hospital at Erlanger will be an authentic steam engine from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum built in 1891 which is the same year Erlanger was founded. The Creative Discovery Museum is providing a fire truck cab, the International Towing & Recovery Museum is providing a pink tow truck, and Rock City is providing a Tree House,” says Julie Taylor, Chief Development Officer and President of the Erlanger Health System Foundations. Other culture partners include Chattanooga Fire Department, and the Lookout Mountain Hand Gliding School.
What to expect with Phase One of Erlanger Children’s Outpatient Center:
- The front door and lobby for the new Children’s Hospital.
- Approximately 90,000 sq. ft. of new construction for pediatric imaging, lab services, pharmacy, and pediatric specialty clinics such as cardiology, neurology, genetics, gastroenterology, orthopedics and more.
- A newly constructed building located on Third Street across from the main Erlanger facilities.
- The front entrance will feature an authentic steam engine built in 1891, the same year Erlanger was founded, from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
- Each floor will be uniquely themed, interactive discovery centers to engage children and distract them from their illnesses.
- Clinical areas designed with kids and parents in mind to relieve anxiety.
- All imaging technology and equipment will be child-sized and safe for kids.