Children’s Hospital prepares to ‘top out’

Patients, staff sign beam at Littleton clinic

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On target to open in December 2013, Children’s Hospital Colorado’s South Campus is preparing for a ceremonial moment on Dec. 17 — and the community is invited.

The raising of the topping-out beam of the Highlands Ranch hospital will bring together hospital dignitaries, patients, community leaders and staff, and according to Children’s Colorado Vice President Suzy Jaeger, there will be a little fun too.

“We let the kids sit behind the cranes and help the construction workers get it up to the top of the building structure,” she said. “It’s very much a Children’s tradition. It really connects all the dots and makes you understand why this kind of stuff is really important. It’s really symbolic of the importance of this community.”

In preparing the beam, patients, hospital staff members and construction workers gathered this past week at outpatient clinics throughout the south metro area, as well as at Hometown Holidays Friday night in Highlands Ranch, to sign the beam.

One of those signing the beam at Littleton’s Outpatient Specialty and Therapy Care Clinic Dec. 6 was Jordan Corray and his children Capri, 8, and Logan, 5, both of whom have been patients at Children’s.

“We’re very excited to have Children’s closer to home,” said Corray, who as superintendent for Sturgeon Electric has done a lot of work for Children’s, including building the catheterization lab where Capri wound up at the Aurora campus. “We know we get the best care there. Having it close to home is going to be a real convenience.”

The south campus, which broke ground May 23 in Highlands Ranch, will offer in-patient care, a wide range of outpatient services, a 22-room urgent care, a sports medicine program, four operating rooms, numerous laboratories, imaging and diagnostics. Keeping with the concept of Children’s it will also have play areas, short-term sibling care, a family hospitality area, and a healing garden.

The facility, which will be 175,000 square feet when it is complete, is expected to employ 300 people. The 125 employees who currently work at the four existing south-metro satellite clinics in Littleton and Centennial will all be relocated to the south campus, and Children’s plans to hire an additional 175 employees.

According to Derek Breier, project manager of Centennial’s Saunders Construction, which is heading the project, the exterior of the building is anticipated to be complete in April, and then it should take another six months to finalize the interior. From there, it will take Children’s two months to have everything prepared to open.

“We can hardly wait,” Jaeger said. “If we could open up tomorrow we certainly would. It’s been a long time coming and we’re very anxious to get things up and going.”

The special topping-out ceremony is at the construction site of the new facility. It will take place from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at 1811 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch.