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Cook Children's
South Tower expansion

Cook Children's to build new South Tower on main campus. Modernization project includes new Urgent Care Center and Utility Plant

The Cook Children's Emergency Department (ED) consistently ranks as one of the busiest in the nation. The children who walk through the ED doors receive the highest level of care possible as part of a Level II Trauma Center.

However, the Cook Children's Emergency Department was built to serve about half of the 120,000 patients seen each year. At the time of its completion nearly 20 years ago no one could have foreseen the rapid pediatric population growth that would take place in this community.

A comprehensive review of the medical center showed the need for a modernization project for the ED, Surgery Services, the new Heart Center, a Laboratory and a Sterile Processing Center. This venture is in response to the emerging needs of a growing population and will culminate with a new South Tower, built on Cook Children's main campus in Fort Worth.

All areas will be updated to ensure a new contemporary look and feel, with a more efficient design and room for the latest in technology.

This is especially important in Surgery Services. The pediatric surgeons at Cook Children's performed more than 27,000 procedures last year on children of all ages. The surgeons are specially trained to care for pediatric patients, but need specific technology to operate on the little patients at the medical center. The new modernization project will make this possible.

In addition to the new South Tower, a new, permanent Urgent Care Center will be built on the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Sixth Avenue to further alleviate the wait times in the ED. A new South Utility Plant will also be built on campus to support the South Tower and future growth. The Prayer Garden and the Walk of Honor will be relocated to a new location.

“Our aim has always been to provide the safest and most modern environment possible for our patients and their families. We feel we owe them our best in keeping with our Promise to them – ‘to improve the health of every child in our region,' ” said Rick Merrill, president and CEO of Cook Children's. “Technology progresses quickly so we must continue to not only evolve with the times, but try to stay ahead of them. Winston Churchill once said, ‘We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.' As a leader in pediatric healthcare, we believe the new South Tower will shape and position us well for our future.”

But this modernization project can't be fixed by knocking down walls or adding piecemeal additions.

“Simply renovating the old spaces wouldn't give us what we so desperately need to service our patients and their families,” said Nancy Cychol, president of Cook Children's Medical Center. “The interstitial space between floors is too small and we can't move the latest technology we need into those areas such as Surgery and the Emergency Department. We also need a better layout and flow in the ED so we can treat patients more efficiently. This will give us the ability to see patients faster and safer. The addition of a new, permanent Urgent Care Center will help to enhance the great care our kids and their families have already been experiencing.”

Key specialties within Cook Children's such as Neurosciences, Endocrinology, Hematology and Oncology, Orthopedics and the Heart Center have helped Cook Children's gain national and international recognition as a health care leader. Cook Children's has always managed to attract the best and brightest minds in health care. This new modernization effort will help continue that tradition.

This project for the new South Tower, the Utility Plant and renovation of the existing facility will cost $349 million. The South Tower will include 314,000 square feet.

“You invest in the care of children when you have the ability to invest,” Merrill said. “More than that, it's important that we continue to reinvest looking toward the future because that's when the community reaps the most benefits.”

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