Construction Report: Children’s expansion at UMMC on the growPublished on Friday, June 21, 2019By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.orgConstruction is moving indoors to complete UMMC’s pediatric expansion. When the structural phase is finished, the interior phase will start. Walls will go up, taking on soft white paint. Pops of color – turquoise, olive, tangerine and fuchsia – will soon liven up the décor, resulting in a children’s hospital environment that is vibrant, yet calming. “The progress we’ve made in the past three years is phenomenal,” said Meredith Aldridge, director of development for Children’s of Mississippi. “The generosity of Mississippians and their dedication to the health of our children are making this possible, and we are so grateful for their help and support.”Construction started on the $180 million expansion in spring 2018 with excavation of what had been a parking lot adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital, a part of Children’s of Mississippi. Last summer, dump trucks, cement mixers and massive drills hummed as more than 700 steel-reinforced concrete piers, each 18 inches to 2 feet in diameter, were planted 45 feet deep into the earth. Cranes that tower over the hospital’s seven stories were installed in July to lift boards, girders and cement to the highest heights of the project. The expansion is on schedule and at budget, with an opening planned for fall 2020.“This hospital tower will be transformational in the care of Mississippi’s sick and injured children,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics at UMMC. “Our patient outcomes are among the best in the country, but our care team achieves these results in a hospital that we have outgrown.”Opened in 1997, the children’s hospital is about a quarter of the size of other children’s hospitals in the southeastern U.S. At UMMC, the state’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit was designed to serve about 30 babies, but three times that number receive care there on most days. Children’s of Mississippi does not have a dedicated imaging area for advanced pediatric imaging, which requires some of the sickest children to be wheeled almost a quarter of a mile to an adult imaging center. Surgical suites and pediatric intensive care rooms at Batson are limited in number and in size.The new tower, which will more than double the children’s hospital’s square footage, will include 88 private NICU rooms where UMMC’s youngest patients and their parents can bond. An imaging center designed for children, more space for private pediatric intensive care rooms and 10 additional surgical suites also will be included. An outpatient specialty clinic, which will include specialties such as cardiology, neurology, urology, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, endocrinology and pulmonology, is also in the plans, as is a convenient parking garage nearby. The Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, a philanthropic drive to fund $100 million of the expansion’s cost, started April 25, 2016, with a $10 million donation from Sanderson Farms CEO and board chairman Joe Sanderson Jr. and his wife, Kathy. The Sandersons chair the campaign.New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his wife, Abby, are the campaign’s honorary chairs. The couple donated over $1 million to the cause. So far, more than $74 million has been raised toward the campaign’s goal.