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Construction has begun on the region’s first dedicated children’s hospital, with an $85 million expansion well underway at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart will be the only children’s hospital in Northwest Florida, serving families across the panhandle, South Alabama and South Georgia.

Artist’s rendering of Sacred Heart Health System’s planned Studer Family Children’s Hospital. (Sacred Heart/Special to The Pulse)

“This is a historic time for Sacred Heart,” said Henry Stovall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola and The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart. “Construction of the new Children’s Hospital is a massive undertaking that has required countless hours of planning and input from every department in our ministry. We are thrilled to be underway and to see the fruits of our labor at work on our campus.”

The new multi-story children’s hospital is being built in front of the existing Children’s Hospital. The expanded Children’s Hospital will allow the hospital to provide care for more children, increase access to specialized pediatric and maternity care and consolidate pediatric services in one convenient location.

Crews begun clearing the site this week and digging for the underground utility work is underway. Construction is expected to continue for two years. Upon opening, the new children’s hospital is expected to add 100 new jobs in Pensacola.

Construction of the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital has begun on Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola campus and is expected to continue for two years. The construction site has been fenced off, and the crew has begun clearing the site. (Sacred Heart/Special to The Pulse)

The expansion is currently planned in two phases. The first phase will focus on the new 120,000 square-foot Children’s Hospital. The new building will connect to the current Children’s Hospital by a ground-level, glass-covered walkway and will include:

  • Pediatric Emergency Department and Trauma Center, an expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current Pediatric Emergency Department, which is now next to the adult Emergency Department and Trauma Center. Consolidating children’s emergency and inpatient services in one building will allow for more coordinated care and shorter discharge processes for children. Sacred Heart provides the region’s only pediatric trauma referral center.
  • Pediatric Surgery. With the construction of the new Children’s Hospital, Sacred Heart will add six, pediatric-dedicated operating rooms. This will consolidate all surgeries and procedures that require sedation into one area with a child-friendly environment designed to include family support, all with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current NICU beds will enable The Children’s Hospital to care for more premature and critically ill infants from across Northwest Florida. In addition to offering the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, The Children’s Hospital maintains two specially equipped neonatal critical care transport ambulances for the transfer of premature and critically ill newborns from other hospitals across Northwest Florida to The Children’s Hospital. The NICU of the new Children’s Hospital will offer private rooms in its Level III unit, which includes the most critically ill babies.
  • Pediatric Oncology, with an expanded inpatient unit to provide specialized, inpatient care for children with cancer.
  • Extended stay/observation beds will represent a new inpatient unit for The Children’s Hospital, caring for children who aren’t yet ready to go home.
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