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Childrens Hospital: New Home And A New Name

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Bob Barrett
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WUWF News
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Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News
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WUWF News
Sewell and Ella Griffith

Hospital officials, community leaders and the media gathered at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola Tuesday morning for the groundbreaking of the new Children’s Hospital building. And along with a new building, the hospital will be getting a new name. Debbie Calder, the Chair of the Board of Directors for Sacred Heart Health System made that announcement towards the end of the ceremony. "On behalf of the Sacred Heart board and leadership team, I am honored to announce we will rename our facility as The Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart."

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Quint Studer speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart

When he spoke to the crowd, Quint Studer said he and his wife Rishy resisted putting their name of the hospital at first. "We really were uncomfortable because we normally don't do that. We've only done it once, and that was at the (YMCA) and that's because we shared that with other families. We hope we share this campus and this building with lots of other families also." Later, Studer talked about the importance of having a stand-alone children’s hospital, saying putting a child in a facility built for adults doesn't make sense. He said it was "truly remarkable" that a city the size of Pensacola could have a regional children's hospital.

The new Children’s Hospital building will offer additional emergency rooms for children, as well as additional neonatal intensive care and pediatric oncology facilities. It will also add facilities that do not exist in the current children’s hospital space. That includes pediatric surgical suites with 6 operating rooms and 2 procedure rooms; a 14 bed pediatric extended stay ward and an inpatient pediatric rehabilitation gym. There will also be playrooms, family respite areas and conference rooms. And the new building will allow the expansion of other services at Sacred Heart. 

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Sacred Heart Board Chair Debbie Calder

Board Chair Debbie Calder says Sacred Heart will expand its unit for expectant mothers with high risk pregnancies. "The construction of the new children's hospital will also enable a complete renovation and expansion of Sacred Heart's Maternity and Women's Center." She says this will grow the number of beds for mothers needing specialized maternity care, as well as post partum beds and surgical suites for mothers needing caesarian sections. 

Calder says the new hospital will be a 4 story building that will connect to the current children’s hospital and extend into the parking lot. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward told the gathering that this addition is about more than rooms and square footage. "What this new expansion signals for our region will be felt at the personal level. The level where I first experienced it when I was born at Sacred Heart in 1969. Yes, this new building will bring additional beds and more operating rooms. But more importantly it will be providing a kid-friendly space for the children in our region who unfortunately are in a hospital and not on a playground."

Construction of the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart should take between 18 and 24 months to complete. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.