After three years of construction work, the new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital was dedicated last Tuesday with officials unveiling the new hospital’s 263,000-square-feet and six floors – a ground floor and five above ground.

The dedication event featured remarks from Kevin and Lauren Brobson, parents of Claire Brobson, who received treatment at the hospital.

“It was a blessing to have access to doctors and nurses with the medical knowledge and technology to fight pediatric cancer,” Lauren Brobson said. “It was comforting that the care and treatment offered here in our own community extended beyond Claire’s medical needs and reached our entire family.”

Work on the new freestanding hospital started in November 2009. The new building houses five dedicated pediatric operating rooms, a cardiac catheterization lab, two procedure rooms and a pediatric radiology space. The state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care unit is supported by a $5 million gift from the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation. All patient rooms are private and designed to accommodate the whole family as well as allow staff to monitor patients while maintaining a family’s privacy.

The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Pavilion, made possible with a $10 million commitment from the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), will offer private space for children undergoing inpatient or outpatient cancer treatment, and clinicians expanded capabilities to offer clinical trials and experimental treatment options.

“The new home of our Children’s Hospital is a building that embodies and fulfills our commitment to providing care that is centered on the needs of the patient and his or her family,” said A. Craig Hillemeier, medical director of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and vice dean of clinical affairs. “We sought significant input from patients, families, and staff during the design to ensure that the building would most effectively serve those who need and use it.”

The $207 million Children’s Hospital building is part of a $239 million project that also included an expansion to the Centerview Parking Garage and a new Support Services Building.

Philanthropic gifts of more than $75 million — including a $25 million commitment from Highmark and an $8 million gift from local philanthropists Jeanne and Ed Arnold — helped make the new building a reality.

“The new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital building has become a reality through the support of generous donors, government and community partners and the tireless dedication of our caring physicians and staff,” said Harold L. Paz, M.D., chief executive officer for Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean of Penn State College of Medicine. “When we open this new building to patients in January, it means children and families in central Pennsylvania will have a world class pediatric facility to match the comprehensive and compassionate care they have come to expect from us.”

Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fully equipped to treat the most severely ill children of central Pennsylvania, with both the highest level neonatal intensive care unit and a Level I pediatric trauma center. The Children’s Hospital earned national recognition from U.S. News and World Report in two specialties in 2011 and in three specialties in 2012.

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