This past July, The University of Rochester Medical Center opened its doors to the Golisano Children’s Hospital— a new $145 million hospital with eight floors and approximately 245,000 square feet of space for children and their families. The new children’s hospital houses 52 private rooms and an extensive Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with more than 60 beds.
Each floor of the hospital features a different theme based on the many beautiful landscapes of upstate New York beginning with lakes and rivers on the lower levels, moving up to meadows and parks, and ending with a cityscape on the eighth floor. The ground floor is home to one of the few integrated PET/MRI imaging technology systems in the United States. The first floor contains the lobby and reception area as well as the Ronald McDonald House Hospitality Suite complete with showers and a laundry room. The third floor is the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, containing 44 private rooms and a family lounge. The seventh and eighth floors contain patient rooms, a playroom for younger children, and a study room and teen lounge for young adults. The second phase of construction, to be completed in 2016, will include the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Cardiac Care Center, and Pediatric Operating Suite.
The hospital was designed with families in mind. Evangelos Yannas, one of the Project Managers for the hospital, describes the need for family friendly rooms and amenities:
“Back when the existing children’s hospital was designed and built, health care revolved around families being more like visitors than part of the providing team. Hospital rooms were designed so families could come visit their children and at the end of the day, go home. Now, the way health care has evolved, families are an integral part of the health care providing team, so they are encouraged to stay and feel comfortable.”
Patient rooms contain both a six foot sleeper sofa and a six-foot bench. Each room conveniently has its own private bathroom. Storage space was also created in patient rooms for personal belongings. The new children’s hospital embraces the need for play and normalcy. It gives patients the chance to be kids while also allowing parents to relax.
The attention to include family members in the design is reflective of the social aspect of sustainability, fostering an enriched sense of community and social well-being in a place of healing for today’s children and future generations.
The hospital was also built to be eco-friendly. The building was designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, which is a green building design program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. This is a major accomplishment for a hospital which needs to maintain certain temperatures, air circulation, and light for its patients twenty-four hours a day. “We are required by state guidelines to have so many air changes per hour. Keeping energy conservation and operations in hand with LEED standards was a challenge” explains Scott Ghostlaw, senior project manager at The University of Rochester Medical Center.
The Golisano Children’s Hospital was built using renewable materials and wood that was purchased within a few hundred mile range. Large windows were installed to allow as much natural light in as possible to reduce the need for lighting and save electricity. Water and energy are conserved as much as possible while still allowing the hospital to function as required by law. A percentage of the waste created by the hospital is recycled in order to reduce its environmental impacts.
Even the landscaping was taken into consideration. Plants that required very little maintenance and watering were used on site. In the place of a cement roof, a small garden was created where families can enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors without even leaving the hospital.
The Golisano Children’s Hospital is the largest capital project in the University of Rochester’s history. The hospital will help more than 85,000 children from the 17-county Finger Lakes region and beyond for years to come while operating under LEED standards, reducing its overall impact on the environment.
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017