WICHITA – Wesley Children’s Hospital, the region’s first and only dedicated hospital designed, built and equipped exclusively for children, officially opened its doors today. Located at the intersection of Central and Hillside streets at Wesley’s main campus, the hospital celebrated its grand opening with a special “lighting of the building” unveiling for staff Wednesday night, as well as held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Wesley Healthcare leaders and elected officials this afternoon.
“We are so excited to be opening the doors of the hospital today,” said Bill Voloch, Wesley Healthcare president and CEO. “When children need hospital care, they still need to play, exercise their imagination and be surrounded by family to help them heal. Welcome to the new Wesley Children’s Hospital where all of this is possible as we provide the best patient experience possible for our region’s children and their families.”
Wesley announced plans to build the hospital in February last year and since that time has been able to recruit nine pediatric subspecialists and four hospitalists to its pediatric services team. Physicians recruited this summer include two oncologists with one also providing hematology services, and another pediatric anesthesiologist. Wesley currently offers care in 20 different pediatric subspecialties.
“A hospital is not just bricks and mortar. It’s nurses, child-life specialists, technicians and physicians all working together to care for the patient,” said Tripp Owings, Wesley Children’s Hospital chief operating officer. “This hospital demonstrates Wesley’s commitment to pediatric care. And the physician community has been responding to that commitment, helping us add depth and new services to our already robust pediatric service line.”
Around 150 construction people were needed to complete the project, which includes a new façade on the hospital’s Hillside exterior, with a renovated entrance, lobby and elevators, as well as a complete renovation of a new, all-private 15-bed PICU and new aesthetic and heating and cooling upgrades on its 31-bed pediatric floor.
“I know first-hand how important the environment of care is for pediatric patients and their families,” said Lindall Smith, MD, Wesley pediatric intensive care unit medical director. “That’s why this project has included the little things – like accommodations for parents to sleep in the room with their child – that will be incredibly impactful for children and parents.
Wesley also created a new pediatric physician directory during the construction – wesleychildrensdocs.com – to help parents and caregivers find pediatric physicians and subspecialists. Physician profiles include photos, medical education information, special interests and videos.
“It’s important for our pediatric patients and their families to feel comfortable while in our care and knowing the physicians taking care of them is a big part of that,” Owings said. “We are continuing to expand this directory with physician profiles and we hope the families in our region find it to be a useful tool.”
Wesley has future plans to extend the children’s hospital theme to other areas of the hospital that treat pediatric patients, such as its pediatric emergency room and radiology department.
“There is nothing more important to our community than the health of our children,” said City of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “The addition of the Wesley Children’s Hospital is an asset to our community as we continue to position Wichita as a resource for medical care, training and education.”
- Bill Voloch, Wesley Healthcare President and CEO
- Tripp Owings, Wesley Children’s Hospital COO
- Nestor R. Weigand, Jr. Wesley Healthcare Board of Trustees Member
- Mayor Jeff Longwell, City of Wichita
- Francie Ekengren, Wesley Healthcare Chief Medical Officer
- Lindall Smith, Wesley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Medical Director
- Angi Gragg, Wesley Children’s Hospital Director of Pediatrics
Construction Fun Facts:
- It took 35 miles of networking cabling to electronically connect Wesley Children’s Hospital.
- More than 25 tons of steel was used during construction with 80 percent of it recycled.
- Approximately 950 LED lightbulbs are used inside Wesley Children’s Hospital. These high-efficiency bulbs will save an average of 18,700 kilowatts per hour, which is about $1,000 in energy savings for the hospital per month.
- Nearly 4,500 tiles have been installed.
- The heating and air system moves air around 7,000 cubic feet per minute and the fans spin at about 3,500 resolutions per minute.
- The water system moves about 31.1 gallons per minute.
Wesley Healthcare 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 Medical Center 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, Wesley Woodlawn ER, the region’s only pediatric ER and soon, Wesley Derby ER. Wesley owns and operates Wesley Medical Center, Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Healthcare, please visit www.wesleymc.com.