Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has announced the naming, the funding and the opening date of a planned $1.5 billion hospital that will provide access to specialized pediatric care.
Due to a $200 million donation from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the hospital will be dubbed Arthur M. Blank Hospital and with its price tag represents one the largest and most expensive healthcare projects in Georgia's history.
The donation, likewise, is the single largest gift to a freestanding pediatric hospital in the state, according to Children's Healthcare. The facility is expected to open its doors in 2025.
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The new hospital's namesake, Arthur Blank, had already donated close to $10 million to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and been involved with patients in various activities and fundraisers in and outside the hospital walls since 2001.
In addition to the Blank Family Foundation, Blank's Family of Businesses includes the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United; the nationwide PGA TOUR Superstore; three ranches in Montana, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and Paradise Valley Ranch; and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
The 1.5 million-square-foot hospital will be located at the northeastern corner of North Druid Hills and I-85 in Brookhaven. Designed to take advantage of healing views of nature, it will include one tower with two wings and additional operating rooms, specialty beds and diagnostic equipment to meet anticipated patient needs. There also will be space for clinical research, clinical trials and overall patient care. As Children's moves to a public fundraising campaign, it will look to the community for support of the nonprofit.
One of the hospital's primary focuses will be on cardiac, hematology/oncology and transplant services. The Heart Center will have expanded resources and capabilities to provide better care for cardiac patients, while the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center – which cares for more kids with cancer than anyone in the state of Georgia – will consolidate all inpatient services at the new hospital with 110 beds, representing 25% of total beds. The consolidation is expected to eliminate travel burdens on patient families for treatment and follow up appointments.
The new facility will also be designated as a dedicated Level 1 pediatric trauma center, the only one in Georgia. Scottish Rite Hospital will remain a Level 2 pediatric trauma center and grow its neuroscience and orthopedic programs, while Hughes Spalding Hospital will remain focused on providing primary care and treating sickle cell disease and asthma.
Over the last several years of the planning process, more than 50 departments and 400 clinical and operational leaders participated in hospital design meetings. In addition, 100 patients and teens engaged in planning efforts through family advisory councils. The Children's Simulation Team conducted more than 130 scenarios within 114,000 square feet of mock-up space, resulting in more than 120 opportunities for design improvements.
Thanks in part to the feedback, the hospital will have larger single-patient rooms, meeting modern standards of care for pediatric hospitals, and will allow for families to more comfortably stay overnight with their children. More than 75% of patient rooms will have views of the garden, and the campus will feature 20 acres of green space and walking trails.
Other key amenities, including family kitchens, business centers, shower facilities and laundry rooms, are intended to normalize a family's routine as much as possible. Playgrounds, playrooms, libraries and school-support spaces will be featured as well.
Attached to the hospital will be an 11-story, 325,000-square-foot medical office building that will house outpatient clinics, a high-tech simulation center and medical conference space. This proximity to the hospital will allow physicians to move quickly between inpatient, clinical and administrative responsibilities.
THE LARGER TREND
In 2017, the project's timeline was estimated at between six to eight years, from groundbreaking to opening. The projected 2025 opening date places the project at the eight-year mark. It's unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic changed the construction timeline. Other expansion projects were announced at the time, including the addition of beds to existing hospitals, new urgent and outpatient clinics, and a 260,000-square-foot specialized care facility.
ON THE RECORD
"It's a great honor for me and my family to be connected to Children's, and a great honor for us to be connected to a system that has dealt with research, illness and disease for the most precious commodities that we have in the world, our children," said Arthur M. Blank, chairman of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. "Children's is one of the greatest pediatric hospitals in the United States. The work they are doing right here in our back yard will make a difference forever, and that's very meaningful to me, my family and our associates."
"As the largest and only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, it's our responsibility to serve both current and future generations of children," said Donna Hyland, CEO of Children's. "[This] milestone marks an important step in making this hospital a reality, which will ensure we can meet the growing patient demand, bring hope to families and provide access to the unique specialized care offered by Children's. We are beyond grateful to Arthur and his family foundation for this generous donation to help our mission grow and inspire others to give to Children's."