12 Aug

MUSC breaks ground on $385M Children’s Hospital

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The Medical University of South Carolina’s new Children’s Hospital will be one of only three in the nation where mothers and their sick newborns can stay in the same room during treatment and recovery.

Often a mother may be on one floor of the hospital and her sick child on another. But with the upgraded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, MUSC President David Cole said they’ll be together.

“It’s really the most critical juncture for both of their lives, so we’re glad that this hospital won’t separate the two,” Cole said during a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

Cole said the 10-story hospital, scheduled for a late 2019 completion, will “transform children’s health” through innovative designs and programs, such as the ICU change.

The change was decided after MUSC received input from 26 families who were previous patients in the current children’s hospital.

That group met with doctors, nurses and architects for more than two years and helped shape the design, including an entire floor dedicated to cancer treatment for children. Cole said that will be the top level “so those patients can have what will be the best view in Charleston.”

Other features of the hospital will include advancements in MUSC’s congenital heart program. An entire team of physicians will provide the necessary treatment for a patient who is having issues during pregnancy, he said.

“That will provide much more harmonized, comprehensive care, and the team can lay out a plan of what the future may look like for the care of a child,” Cole said.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said construction of the hospital is part of a bigger collaboration between the city and all of its medical facilities, an effort that includes the 22-acre WestEdge mixed-use development.

“We’re re-creating this part of our city into an incredible medical district that not only provides health care services to our citizens but will increase our quality of life,” he said. “Dr. Cole and other partners have developed an incredible vision for this district and the city is proud to be a part of this vision.”

The estimated cost of the future hospital at Courtenay Drive and Calhoun Street is $385 million, making it one of the most expensive construction projects ever on the peninsula. MUSC’s neighboring Ashley River Tower, which opened in 2008, cost about $275 million to build.

So far, $102 million has been raised for the new project, including a $35 million appropriation from the General Assembly and a $25 million donation from Shawn Jenkins, co-founder and chief executive officer of Benefitfocus Inc., and his family. The hospital is named after Jenkins.

“It will be a great testimony to how we value our children’s and women’s health,” the CEO of the Daniel Island-based technology company said Friday.

Most of the project with be financed with federal loans.

The groundbreaking also acknowledged the construction of the Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, named after an Orangeburg woman who donated to the hospital. MUSC said the pavilion will give patients access to specialized equipment, rare procedures, pediatrics and maternal-fetal medicine.

Prior to the groundbreaking ceremony, the MUSC Board of Trustees approved a 3.25 percent pay increase for university employees. Other MUSC employees receive pay increases based on performance evaluations that occur each October.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.



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