Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Fla., to expand

November 1, 2015

Pensacola, Fla.-based Sacred Heart Health System plans to begin construction in early 2016 of a five-story Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart, which serves families in northwest Florida, south Alabama and south Georgia.

A rendering of the five-story Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Fla., scheduled to open in late 2017.

Dr. Robert Patterson, the medical director of The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart, said the current children's hospital "has developed organically as space was available and service lines expanded." One benefit of the new hospital building will be that pediatric services can be offered in a setting designed and organized to efficiently meet the needs of pediatric patients and their families and allow for the expansion of women's services on the campus, he said.

The expansion plan comes as the Sacred Heart Health System celebrates its centennial, allowing the system to reflect on its tradition of care as it plans for the future, said Patterson. Children's Hospital is the only pediatric hospital in the region, according to information from Sacred Heart Health System.

Sacred Heart Health System and its parent, St. Louis-based Ascension, have committed $55 million to the expansion project; Sacred Heart is working to raise additional funds from community supporters. The health system said it doesn't yet have a total price tag on the project, as architectural drawings are still in the works. The new building is slated for completion in late 2017.

In the new children's hospital building, everything "will be sized and designed to accommodate children," from premature infants to teenage football players, Patterson said.

When the new Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart opens, it's expected to add 100 jobs at Sacred Heart and require the recruitment of additional specialists. Patterson said these will include perinatologists, pediatric emergency department physicians, pediatric surgeons and others.

CHA's President and Chief Executive Officer Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, was among those who took part in the Sept. 21 announcement of the hospital construction. Sr. Carol was supervisor of The Sacred Heart Children's Hospital and regional perinatal intensive care center for a decade beginning in 1969. She spoke about how far the children's hospital has come since opening in 1969 and how the new hospital will meet patient needs well into the future. The first Sacred Heart Hospital was built in 1915 in Pensacola, a joint effort between a group of citizens and the Daughters of Charity.

New construction, then renovation
The first phase of the two-phase hospital expansion will focus on the new 120,000-square-foot children's hospital. It will be built on the Sacred Heart campus in front of the existing children's hospital. The new building will connect to the current children's hospital by a ground-level, glassed-in walkway. The new hospital building will house an expanded pediatric emergency department and trauma center and six pediatric operating rooms, consolidating all surgeries and procedures that require sedation into one area.

The hospital has the area's only Level III neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for the most critically ill babies. The hospital will relocate its neonatal intensive care unit into the new building and expand the number of NICU beds. The current Level III NICU has some private rooms. All Level III rooms will be private in the NICU. The NICU will expand from 67 Level II and Level III beds currently to 72 beds.

The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart treats premature and critically ill newborns from throughout northwest Florida, according to the hospital.

The hospital also will expand its pediatric oncology unit, providing inpatient care for more children with cancer, Patterson said.

The second phase of the work will include an expansion of Sacred Heart's regional perinatal center, an inpatient unit for expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies. This expansion will be built off the current perinatal wing. Sacred Heart's maternity center will be renovated during the second phase of the work and include expansion of the hospital's obstetrics emergency care center, postpartum beds and surgical suites for mothers needing cesarean sections.

The second phase of construction also includes the renovation of the third floor of the current children's hospital, which will continue to house the pediatric intensive care unit, playrooms and a pediatric pharmacy. A pediatric inpatient rehabilitation gym will be added, according to a news release.


Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.