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>>New kids' hospital in pre-op

image: Campus NewsThe University of Chicago Hospitals will have a new children's facility by 2004, thanks in part to Gary C. Comer, founder of Lands' End clothing-catalog company. Comer, who was born and raised on Chicago's South Side, and his wife, Frances, have donated $21 million to help build the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Their donation matches the largest gift ever presented to the U of C Hospitals and is the fourth largest naming gift to any U. S. children's hospital.

The new building will be constructed on Maryland Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets, one block north of the existing children's hospital, which opened in 1967. The 155-bed facility will include two 30-bed surgical units, a 30-bed pediatric intensive care unit, and a 65-bed neonatal intensive care unit that will replace the existing 55-bed unit, already the largest in the Midwest. Although the new building-more than twice the size of the current children's hospital-will only offer seven more beds overall, the average size of a patient's room will increase from 177 square feet to 308 square feet.

The building's design reflects input not only from architects and engineers, but also health-care workers and recent and current patients who provided a child's perspective on a hospital stay. As a result, the design includes such user-friendly features as patient-controlled lighting and climate, personal computers, adjustable shower fixtures, and a McDonald's in the food court. The building will also include more group areas for patients to socialize and facilities for visiting parents.
Construction on the $130 million facility is scheduled to begin this fall. Comer's gift brings the project's fund-raising total to $33 million, two-thirds of the way to its $50 million goal.
-C.S.


  FEBRUARY 2001

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