WICHITA – Wesley Medical Center leaders and several elected officials helped kick off construction of Wesley’s $28 million children’s hospital with a ceremonial red brick wall “knock down” unveiling the hospital’s new name and brand – Wesley Children’s Hospital.
“The name was easy to determine,” said Bill Voloch, Wesley’s president and CEO. “Our community knows and trusts the Wesley name, and we wanted to make it very clear that parents and kids will find the same level of expert, compassionate care at Wesley Children’s Hospital they deserve and expect at any Wesley facility.”
The Wesley marketing team tested dozens of names and logos with various community groups and stakeholders to ensure the new hospital branding met several criteria.
“We wanted something that was both distinctive and recognizable; something professional, but also conveying hope, joy and compassion,” Voloch said. “And the image of a child rising above its challenges – with the help of Wesley – is also symbolic of the Kansas state motto – per aspera ad astra, or, ‘To the stars, through difficulty.’”
The branding was unveiled at a ceremony on the current pediatrics floor in which hospital and elected officials broke down a wall, instead of the traditional breaking of ground, to launch the construction project.
“We’ve been talking to our community for a long time about this children’s hospital and what it should look like. Some of the strongest feedback we received was that not everyone likes all the red brick inside and outside our facility,” Voloch said. “Given that this project replaces a lot of that brick with a new, modern exterior, it just seemed fitting to smash down a brick wall to get us started.”
Wesley announced the building of the region’s first and only children’s hospital earlier this year, sharing renderings of soon-to-be bright colored lobbies, hallways and patient rooms, as well as promising to recruit additional pediatric specialty physicians for the new hospital in an effort to keep as many pediatric patients as close to home as possible for medical care.
Since the announcement, Wesley has recruited five new pediatric specialists and three new pediatric hospitalists, with many more in various stages of recruitment. Construction has already begun on the pediatrics units’ temporary new homes on the fourth and sixth floors of the hospital’s tower building, including the installation of a new, state-of-the-art nurse call system so patients and families will have the best technology and service, even during the construction process.
Wesley is also creating a children’s foundation to help raise and distribute funds to better serve the kids and families served by Wesley Children’s Hospital.
“There is nothing more important to our community than the health of our children,” said Lavonta Williams, Wichita District 1 city council member. “As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. And now, we’ll have a hospital dedicated to caring for Kansas kids right here in Kansas.”
Wesley currently offers care in 20 different pediatric subspecialties – from its pediatric surgery clinic to pediatric oncology services and more.
“A children’s hospital is not just bricks and mortar. It is nurses, child life specialists, technicians and physicians, all working together to care for children,” said Tripp Owings, the Wesley Children’s Hospital’s chief operating officer. “This hospital demonstrates our commitment to pediatrics care. And the physician community is responding to that commitment, helping us add depth and new services to our already robust pediatric service line.”
Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016 and includes a new façade on the hospital’s Hillside exterior, with a renovated entrance, lobby and elevators. Additionally, it will include a complete renovation of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, creating a new, all-private 15-bed PICU. In addition, Wesley’s 30-bed pediatric unit will receive aesthetic and heating and cooling system upgrades. The hospital will also extend the children’s hospital theme to other areas of the hospital that may treat pediatric patients, such as the pediatric emergency room and radiology department.
“As a Kansas father – and very recently, a grandfather – I am thrilled our families will soon have Wesley Children’s Hospital to serve the needs of our state,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in a written statement. “Kansas parents deserve a dedicated pediatric hospital to call their own. And in a few short months, they’ll have it.”
For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its pediatric services, please visit www.wesleymc.com. And for updates about progress on the Wesley Children’s Hospital project, please visit www.facebook.com/wesleychildrenshospital.
Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Galichia ER and the region’s only pediatric ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital and multiple WESLEYCare clinics, and it recently announced plans to build a dedicated children’s hospital. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.