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New era of child-focused care for South Sound families

MultiCare announced plans to build a new standalone hospital for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.

By MultiCare Health System

It’s a new era of medical care for children in the South Sound. Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital will move out of the building it shares with MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital and into its own building dedicated solely for the care of children. In the new hospital, every bed, exam table, operating rooms, imaging machine — every facet of care — will be designed to meet children’s needs. 

“We see the unlimited potential in kids. We believe every child deserves uncompromising care so that they reach their goals,” says Jeff Poltawsky, President & Market Leader at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network. “And this new hospital will help us deliver on that promise.” 

The new Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital will be located across Martin Luther King. Jr Way from the current location on the sites occupied by Jackson Hall, the Jackson Hall parking garage and the east wing of the Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center. 

Construction will begin in early 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. The hospital will have 82 private patient rooms with shelled space to meet future needs, 10 operating rooms, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a hybrid interventional cardiology and radiology suite; dedicated MRI, CT and ultrasound, imaging, a state-of-the-art infusion center, endoscopy, lab and pharmacy services. The pediatric Emergency Department will have 38 treatment rooms and a pediatric mental health crisis stabilization unit.  

Delivering on a legacy of uncompromising care 

For more than 60 years, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network has provided the pediatric services the South Sound community needs — working to continually advance pediatric specialties such as surgery, orthopedics and cancer care.  

In 1955, the longtime dream of the women of the Tacoma Orthopedic Association (later known as the Mary Bridge Brigade) came to fruition when the first standalone children’s hospital in the South Sound region opened its doors. For more than three decades, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital cared for children in what is now the outpatient Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center.  

In 1987, the need for more space and more services drove the hospital to move its inpatient services into a new wing at Tacoma General Hospital. Tacoma General and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital shared lab, pharmacy, kitchen, cafeteria, operating room, diagnostic and imaging spaces. 

While the hospital has continued to fulfill its vision to provide specialized pediatric care, co-location inside an adult-services hospital meant that Mary Bridge Children’s faced challenges in providing the completely child-focused experience the hospital’s young patients and their families need and deserve. 

Mary Bridge Children’s determined the time had come for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital to once again have its own building. Children need health care designed for their unique needs, delivered by specially trained clinicians in child-friendly environments.  

Meeting the needs of a growing population 

The South Sound continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, especially among young families. Nearly 24,000 babies are born in the area each year — that’s 66 babies a day. Today, nearly 500,000 children live in the Mary Bridge Children’s service area. 

Mary Bridge Children’s has grown along with the region, opening a new outpatient center in Gig Harbor and planning to expand outpatient care in Federal Way, North Kitsap and Olympia later this year.  

Drawing on best practices to provide excellent care at lower costs 

The new Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital will be designed and built to create the best possible experience for children using the latest in lean design and construction. Before blueprints are drawn, our providers and staff are creating efficient workflows for the future, creating value and eliminating unnecessary steps. The facility will incorporate recent technology, such as artificial intelligence, wayfinding, wireless internet and smart rooms.  The patient and family experience will begin before the patient arrives with technology to enable digital check-in, to help them find a place to park in the convenient, new parking garage and to provide clear directions to their destination. 

The new hospital will be partially built on the site of the original Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, which has been used for Mary Bridge Children’s outpatient services since the 1980s. 

Mary Bridge Children’s will partner with CBRE for project management and space programming. Vizient, a lean process expert, will facilitate lean-led design engaging Mary Bridge staff, physicians, stakeholders and leaders. Mary Bridge Children’s has chosen to develop the new hospital using Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) methodology.  The IPD team of Earl Swenson Associates (ESa), Nashville, Tennessee; TGB Architects, Edmunds; Layton Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Abbott Construction, Tacoma,  to work with Mary Bridge Leadership. 

“The New Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create one of the best and safest children’s hospitals in the nation,” says Poltawsky. “It will usher in a new era of pediatric care in our region and will be a true testament to the dream that started more than 100 years ago to deliver a comprehensive, high value, pediatric health care destination in the South Puget Sound region.”