A New Door To Care

Baptist and Wolfson Children’s cutting-edge new building will also be the campus’ new front door

Renderings by architects FreemanWhite

Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville have broken ground on a new seven-story building, five floors of which will belong to a new Children’s Critical Care Tower. Set to open in 2021, this building not only houses a needed and major expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), but will serve as the new ‘front door’ to the medical campus. 

The groundbreaking ceremony, held May 14, 2019, featured eighteen shovels (two kid-sized) created by Dylan Bauer, artist-in-residence with Art with a Heart in Healthcare (AWAHIH). This local nonprofit brings art experiences to patients at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, guiding them through projects that increase their self esteem and self awareness, and provide welcome stress management and distraction from the often scary experience of a hospital stay. Their mission aligns with Wolfson’s and Baptist’s that their facilities be a place of hope, something integrated into this new construction.

The new building, designed to increase visibility and accessibility from I-95, will reorient the entire campus, and make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate through the medical center. “The new entry building will provide an easily identifiable and accessible point of entry for the entire Baptist Jacksonville campus,” says Michael A. Mayo, FACHE, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville hospital president. “The new construction will include an elevated, connected walkway from Parking Garage 2 to the second floor of the new building, eliminating crossing Palm Avenue at the ground level. In addition, we will have expanded valet parking, a dedicated entry for neonates and parents and a dedicated ambulance entrance for NICU transfer patients.”

 Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, Wolfson Children’s Hospital president, emphasizes that the new building will be a calming, healing environment. “The architecture of the exterior of the building will set the tone upon arrival,” he says. “This new addition will be a symbol of the great care that will be provided within, so we have focused on doing some very different concepts to make it unique and deserving of the very prominent position it will have on the city’s skyline view from I-95.”

Renderings by architects FreemanWhite

The Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower will include a high-level 75-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Center, comprised of three separate units, and a 26-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). These added beds will bring the hospital’s total to 272, making Wolfson Children’s the second-largest children’s hospital in the state. Currently the only full-service children’s hospital in North Florida and South Georgia, Wolfson Children’s provides the region’s only Neonatal Surgical Center.

“Wolfson Children’s Hospital is receiving more and more critically ill infants and children from cities well outside of Jacksonville,” says Aubin. He attributes this in great part to their multi-year focus on increasing access to world-class pediatric specialty care, and through outreach and development of satellite centers and affiliations in the broad region they serve. The volume of critically ill patients they receive has grown, and the complexity of these cases has increased as well, both at Wolfson and at Baptist, which is a hub for services for expectant moms, including those with high-risk pregnancies. 

“The new Wolfson Children’s Critical Care Tower will integrate with Baptist Jacksonville’s high-risk obstetrics and neonatal delivery center for seamless continuity of care,” says Aubin. “It is our responsibility to ensure that our patients are met with world-class care in the most advanced facilities.”

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