UMC Unveils Plans to Build Diamond Children's Medical Center

Nov. 30, 2007
Rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center
Rendering of the new Diamond Children's Medical Center

University Medical Center unveiled plans to build Tucson’s first children’s hospital – Diamond Children’s Medical Center, in honor of Tucson philanthropists Donald and Joan Diamond, who provided the lead gift of $15 million.

“This children’s hospital will become an enormous asset to Tucson and the region,” Donald Diamond said. “We’re proud and honored to be associated with the campaign to create it, and we invite all those who value excellence in health care for children to join us.”

Construction of the tower of the children’s hospital is part of UMC’s $200 million expansion project, which is being funded by the sale of revenue bonds. The additional cost to complete the children’s hospital, estimated at $55 million, will be offset by philanthropic funding.

The unveiling launches a fundraising campaign to raise the additional $40 million needed to complete the children’s hospital. “There will be many opportunities for the community to participate in bringing Diamond Children’s to reality. This is truly an exciting time for our community,” says UMC President and CEO Greg Pivirotto. Construction of Diamond Children’s is scheduled for completion in spring 2010.

“The time is right,” says Pivirotto. “We have spent years planning for a children’s hospital. We have held focus groups with our patients, families and children to get their input into what they would want in a children’s hospital. We have consulted with experts in children’s hospital design to create a truly healing environment. And now, with Tucson’s population exceeding 1 million, it’s time to have a hospital completely devoted to the health care needs of children.”

Diamond Children’s will sit atop the new trauma center. It will occupy the upper three floors of the new six-floor tower currently under construction at UMC. “Diamond Children’s, while physically connected to the northwest corner of UMC, will have its own entrance,” says Pivirotto. “It will have 116 beds and occupy approximately 100,000 square feet, with room for future growth. The ground floor of the new tower will be devoted to a new children’s lobby and Emergency Department, which will be open 24/7.”

“Family-Centered” Children’s Hospital
Diamond Children’s will be a “family-centered” pediatric hospital. “Family-centered” care means that the hospitalized child’s parents are actively involved in all aspects of the child’s care, and the design of the hospital accommodates families’ physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.

Rooms are designed to make it more comfortable for patients and accessible for parents from private bathrooms and showers, to comfortable sleeping beds, to laundry facilities. Designated “family spaces” will be located throughout the hospital – places for parents to use computers, grab a snack or search the Internet. A meditation room will provide families time to reflect, pray or meditate, and a healing garden will provide respite for both patients and their families.

“Research shows that a family-centered children’s hospital improves health outcomes,” says Vicki Began, vice president, UMC Women and Children’s Services. “Children are not ‘little adults.’ They have unique needs and require specialized care that is best delivered through a dedicated children’s hospital. We are committed to creating an environment that is positive and healing to children.”

Diamond Children’s: A Children’s Research Hospital

Diamond Children’s will be unique in the state of Arizona because it will be the only children’s hospital connected to an academic research facilityThe University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Center.

“The Steele Center and UMC make an ideal collaboration for building a children’s hospital,” says Fayez K. Ghishan, head of the UA department of pediatrics and director of the Steele Children’s Research Center. “A children’s hospital connected to an academic research facility provides an integrated system of clinical care, cutting-edge research, and training of the next generation of pediatricians. Furthermore, a children’s hospital will enable us to recruit more top-notch pediatric specialists and researchers than before, enabling us to offer additional specialized services.”

UA President Robert N. Shelton says, "Diamond Children's represents a major step forward for the children of our community and state. As the nation's fastest-growing state, it could not come at a better time. This important project provides another way the UA and University Medical Center can better serve the sons and daughters of Arizona."

"There is a synergistic effect when you combine a rigorous academic medical research program with the robust clinical infrastructure that a children’s hospital brings,” says Keith A. Joiner, vice provost for medical affairs and dean, UA College of Medicine. “All of the top-notch children’s hospitals across the country are connected to academic institutions. In the end, patients benefit from being treated by physicians on the cutting-edge of bench-to-bedside medicine.”

Donald Diamond adds, “With the solid academic foundation of the UA College of Medicine and the research and development of new treatments through the UA Steele Center, Diamond’s Children’s will be poised to provide the best treatments and care possible for the children of our community.”

Diamond Children’s: Excellence in Design
Diamond Children’s not only will be Southern Arizona’s premier hospital for children, special attention has been devoted to its architecture, design and “theming.” Hospital design was provided by NTD Architecture, construction by Kitchell Corporation, project management by The Innova Group, and “theming” design by nationally-renowned Studio Productions.

“Diamond Children’s will be a beautiful healing environment,” says Lori Throne, director of UMC Women and Children’s Services. “Designed with the help of children and their parents, it will be both a warm and welcoming place, appealing to all of the senses. From the moment you walk into the hospital lobby, with its natural lighting and creative design, you’ll know you have entered a special place for children,” she says.

Family-Centered Features of Diamond Children’s:

  • NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit): 36 beds; located on the fourth floor
    The NICU will have special “nesting rooms” where parents can stay with their children long term, and, with the help of medical specialists, learn to simulate their home environment as they transition to provide care for their child at home.

  • Medical/surgery rooms: 36 private rooms; located on the fifth floor
    Each room has a bathroom and shower
    Sleeping bed for parents
    Each room has wireless Internet access
    Shell space for future growth
  • PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit): 20 private rooms (with additional six-bed specialty unit); located on the sixth floor
    Each room has a bathroom and shower
    Sleeping bed for parents
    Each room has wireless Internet access
  • Hematology/Oncology: 12 private rooms; located on the sixth floor
    Each room has a bathroom and shower
    Each room has wireless Internet access
  • BMT (Blood and Marrow Transplantation): six rooms; located on the sixth floor
    Private rooms, each with a bathroom and shower
    Each room has wireless Internet access

    Other features include:

  • Separate entrance and lobby from University Medical Center
  • 116 beds; 100,000/square feet
  • 24/7 Pediatric ER
  • Pediatric playroom on each floor
  • Teen activity room (will serve as a lounge in the evenings)
  • Ronald McDonald Family Room
    Washer/dryer available for laundry
    Family room for parents and family members to rest, watch TV, read or use the Internet
  • Lactation room
  • A stage for children to see performances, concerts, graduations or parties
  • Library/classroom for children to receive tutoring and catch up on homework
  • Meditation room
  • Healing garden
  • Food/beverage kiosks to be conveniently located on each floor
  • Gift shop
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