Fadel Allassan, News Editor
VCU Health System is planning to build an 86-bed, $350 million inpatient children’s hospital at the university’s medical center, the university announced last week.
The facility will be on East Marshall Street, between 10th and 11th streets, and adjacent to the outpatient Children’s Pavilion building downtown. The university expects to start construction as early as this summer, and it will last until the end of 2022.
The new building will replace the pediatric inpatient unit at the main VCU hospital. It will dedicate a number of services to children, including private rooms, new operating rooms, imaging capacity, emergency services and family amenities.
VCU President Michael Rao said the new project is part of a strategic goal to be ranked among the top-20 in children’s health by 2022. The university wants the hospital to be a destination for people across the state seeking quality care, as well as a landing spot for research and education-based opportunities.
“The completion of the Children’s Pavilion with a new inpatient hospital will provide an exclusively child-centered environment as advocated by patient families, our own pediatric team and regional children’s health care providers,” Rao said in a statement.
Some local political leaders endorsed the plan. In a statement, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said it would benefit the entire region.
“Providing access to world-class health care for every child, no matter their zip code or ability to pay, is the right thing to do,” Stoney said. “Building this new facility will not simply expand our growing healthcare economy — it will improve the lives and health outcomes for our children. We are proud to be home to VCU and applaud its progressive, mission-centered patient care.”
Del. Delores McQuinn, whose district includes parts of Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield, said in a statement that she welcomes the addition as a cancer survivor and beneficiary of research and care of VCU’s facilities.
“Our children deserve the best we have to offer both in terms of care and experience — and that is just what this new facility will provide for the entire region,” McQuinn said.
VCU and Bon Secours looked into developing a similar facility in 2015, but the plans fell through after both parties determined it would have been financially risky, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Officials were apprehensive about the investment because of uncertainty over Medicaid expansion in Virginia, federal funds for training new doctors and ongoing court battles over Affordable Care Act premiums.