kids' hospital in pre-op
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.
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.
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.