Archive for February 2013

Building Hope Designed to Shrug Off Quakes

Building Hope Shot - Blog PostIt was 12 years ago today that the Nisqually Earthquake rattled Seattle and caused injuries and damage across the Pacific Northwest. Earthquake safety and preparedness was very much on the minds of the planners, architects and engineers who designed Building Hope. The building is constructed to operate continuously in the event of a future temblor even stronger than the 6.8 Nisqually Earthquake – the big one scientists forecast to strike once every 500 years.

The building’s structural elements exceed even the super-stringent seismic codes developed by regulators in earthquake-prone California. We also invested about $2 million in bracing non-structural elements such as waste disposal lines, ceiling systems and lighting to ensure that these crucial components would remain in place during and after a major quake. If sometime in the future the ground beneath Seattle starts shaking, patients and their families can be assured that Building Hope will both remain standing and continue caring for patients with minimal interruption.

Sidewalk Work Begins March 1

Work begins Friday, March 1, to demolish and replace the sidewalk on the north side of NE 45th Street between 40th Avenue NE and the plaza walk.  The sidewalk will be closed until the project is complete sometime before March 12. Although NE 45th Street and the sidewalk on the south side of the street will remain open during construction, please proceed with caution in the area.

Waldo Says Hasta La Vista – But He’ll Be Back

Waldo approvedI travel a lot so I know a lot of ways to say goodbye – ciao, adios, peace out – but it’s never easy no matter what the language. This is my last day at Seattle Children’s before I start my next adventure. I’m sad to go but also excited because it means Building Hope is almost done.

 I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since Sellen Construction invited me to join the crew working on the new building. Every day they sent me somewhere different on the construction site. I’ll never forget playing “Where’s Waldo?” with all the kids and families at the hospital. Do you remember spotting me perched on the construction crane? Or peeking out of the Port-A-Potty? Good times!

 Thanks, Sellen, for asking me to be part of your team. I look pretty buff after all that construction work. Nobody’s laughing at my beanie now! And thanks, Children’s, for asking me to write about all the things I saw and people I met here. After all this blogging, I should write books. Psych! I’ve already have.

Before I go, I have a favor to ask all you Waldo fans. Keep an eye on things after I leave. There’s a good chance I’ll be back when Children’s starts its next construction project and I’ll want to know everything that happened while I was gone.

Adieu, sayonara, later dude. Waldo has left the building.

Anticipation Grows for Move to Building Hope

Cathie ReaI’m literally counting the days until our pediatric and cardiac intensive care units (PICU and CCU) move to their new spaces in Building Hope. I write the number on a whiteboard outside my office every day. With less than two months to go, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation about working in the new units. Once we settle in, I’m sure we’ll discover it’s been worth the wait.

We’re excited for many reasons, but most of all because the move expands our capacity. Families from throughout the region count on us to provide lifesaving care for their children, but we don’t always have room.  When that happens, we have to cancel surgeries, delay admissions or send children to other hospitals as far away as Portland. That’s unacceptable.

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Trail Preparation

Bobcat Drill

We’re getting our ducks in row to begin construction of the Burke-Gilman Trail connection at Hartmann this summer. As we get ready for permitting and final design of this project, our geo-technical engineers will drill three soil samples during the week of March 25. We expect this work will take about two days to complete.

On the first day, the crew will take a sample of the soil in the area adjacent to the Burke-Gilman trail. They will access the location via the trail accompanied by two flaggers to alert walkers and cyclists. On the second day, workers will drill two core samples on the parking lot of the Hartmann building. The equipment will be unloaded at 7 a.m.; work will begin at 8 a.m. and finish by 4 p.m. on both days.

The Bobcat utility vehicle used for this work is relatively light and equipped with rubber treads so there should be no damage to the trail surface. Our engineers are also coordinating with arborists to make sure that the drilling locations will not compromise the roots of the Sequoia tree(s). We expect minimal noise (about 75 decibels) from the Bobcat’s engine, and some periodic hammering noise (between 90 and 100 decibels).

Improving access to the Burke-Gilman Trail is a key goal of our Livable Streets Initiative, if you have any comments or concerns, please contact Todd Johnson at [email protected]

Join Us March 16th For Building Hope Celebration

Comm Open House - Blog PhotoDrum roll, please. We’re holding a Community Open House and Family Fest on March 16 to celebrate the pending opening of our Building Hope expansion. The fun lasts from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the main campus of Seattle Children’s in the Building Hope Tent.

Take a tour of the new building and see our new emergency department and cancer and critical care units before anyone else. Check out a working ambulance and listen to local musician Johnny Bregar preform. Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal for a check-up at the Teddy Bear Clinic. We’ll also fit children ages 1-18 for a free bike helmet.

See you there!

Technology Magic At Building Hope

IS Team BH - Blog Michelle Soul and her team aren’t magicians, but their job is to make sure every computer, printer, phone and TV works like magic when Building Hope opens this spring. Soul is project manager for the information systems (IS) component of Building Hope. “Our team is working hard and everything is going well,” Soul says, “but this isn’t a job for the faint of heart.”

Right now the team is busy unpacking, distributing and configuring 8,000 pieces of hardware. Waves of equipment arrive every day and everything is set up the day it’s delivered because there’s no room to store it for setup later. Setup is just the beginning, though. “Anybody can plug a keyboard into a computer,” Soul says. “The challenge is all the programming that needs to occur behind the scenes.”

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Wayfinding Artists Create Coloring Sheets

Lab Partners 2The artists who created the designs featured in our new wayfinding system are creating coloring sheets for our patients. Amy Ruppel of Portland, Ore., and Lab Partners of Oakland, Calif., are producing about two dozen different coloring sheets based on the natural themes expressed in their wayfinding artwork. Read full post »

Waldo Does Windows

window washing waldosWaldo will do anything to help Seattle Children’s. He’s been entertaining patients throughout construction of Building Hope by asking patients to spot him as he visits different parts of the hospital. Now, he’s washing the building’s windows.

OK. So we’re stretching the truth just a little. The Waldo who materializes around our campus is a wooden replica that our contractor, Sellen Construction, created to engage patients and families. And those window washers dangling from ropes in red-and-white sweaters? They actually work for Outlook Exterior Maintenance and agreed to dress like Waldo at the suggestion of Todd Johnson, our vice president of facilities.

None of that changes the fact that Waldo – in whatever form he takes – makes people smile wherever he goes. Thanks, Waldo – and be careful up there!

Art Happens – And It’s Beautiful

Art Happens - SCCA Wall 1What happens when you give a group of kids markers and crayons, show them a blank wall and turn their imaginations loose? Something beautiful!

Patients in the Seattle Children’s cancer unit and their siblings have turned a temporary construction wall into a dazzling and inspirational mural. Chelsea Olson, a nurse in the unit, came up with the idea. Austin Schlichtman, a child life specialist, supplied the crayons and markers. Once the kids got the OK, they covered nearly the entire wall in less than eight hours. “The doctors and nurses were really happy to see their patients out of their beds and being active,” Schlichtman says. Read full post »