After several months of study and thoughtful consideration, we made the decision to begin our first phase of the campus expansion on the south side of the Laurelon Terrace property.  Initial concepts called for the expansion to start on the north side of that property. Some people have asked us why we made this adjustment.

This decision was made in the planning and design process and was guided by our commitment to provide family-centered care with outstanding results.

Since the Seattle City Council gave the expansion a green light in April, we have worked closely with hospital planners and architects to meet requirements of the Master Plan including height limits, setback standards, and open space requirements. Until we knew what those broad parameters would be, we could not rationally begin to engage in the detailed design process with our medical staff and patient families.   

Hospital staff, physicians and patient families collaborated to better understand how to design spaces that respond to patient needs. Together we reviewed flow that best supports clinical effectiveness and considered what was most important to build during our first phase of construction.  This has been a very rigorous process.

These efforts informed our decision to retain the existing Train building and shift Phase One from the northern portion of the Laurelon Terrace site to the south. This southern location had been evaluated and approved for use in the Major Institution Master Plan. Ultimately this work will allow us to significantly reduce the size of Phase One from 590,000 square feet to 325,000 square feet. 

We desperately need additional beds in cancer care, intensive care and medical and surgical units. These services currently exist in our hospital’s Train zone and the proposed southern location would enable us to connect to them directly via a multi-level sky bridge. Other efficiencies are gained by leveraging the connection to existing services such as radiology, imaging, the operating rooms and other support functions.  None of these benefits could be achieved if we built the Phase One bed unit in the northern part of the Laurelon Terrace property, next to the Giraffe wing of the hospital.

Saving and repurposing the current Train building, allows us to be more environmentally sound and fiscally responsible. We will be able to avoid duplicating costly services, plus it helps increase efficiency and reduces patient movement. In addition we’ll avoid the need to demolish this building and dispose of tons of debris. 

As proposed, Phase One helps us meet our urgent need for beds by providing 192 private patient rooms (includes converting 50 existing double rooms into 100 singles). It is the first of four phases that will transform Children’s Seattle campus over the next 20 years from 250 to 600 beds to meet the community’s growing demand for pediatric specialty care. As always, we are committed to building only the beds we need to serve our community. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2011.