Monday, July 1, 2019

Blair Batson Expansion Moves Along

UMC issued the following statement. 

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s $180 million pediatric expansion may be building on the progress of the past, but the tower, now reaching its full seven-story height, is built with the future in mind.

“This expansion is for families that haven’t been made yet and for children who haven’t been born yet,” said Sanderson Farms CEO and board chairman Joe Sanderson during Growing Up Together, a topping-out event celebrating the tower’s halfway point.

Held Thursday in what will be the hospital lobby, the event was punctuated when a crane lifted a construction beam, covered with signatures and well-wishes in a rainbow of Sharpie ink, to the tower’s pinnacle.

The expansion is set for a fall 2020 opening.

“To use a sports analogy, we’re at halftime and heading into the third quarter,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi.

This summer, work will move from the project’s structural phase to its interior. For the next year, workers will be creating indoor spaces designed for the comfort, care and healing of Mississippi’s children.

The 355,303-square-foot tower will house 88 state-of-the art private neonatal intensive care rooms, additional pediatric intensive care unit rooms and surgical suites and an imaging center designed for children. The Children’s Heart Center, representing the Medical Center’s pediatric cardiovascular program, will also call the new building home.

A pediatric outpatient specialty clinic bringing experts in cardiology, neurology, oncology, hematology, urology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and more in one location. A convenient parking garage will be located nearby.

“UMMC has always been a beacon for children’s health care,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. The Medical Center opened its first children’s hospital in 1968, with the opening of Batson Children’s Hospital following in 1997.

Since the expansion’s planning stage, Woodward has called it “transformative,” noting that it will more than double the square footage devoted to pediatric care at UMMC.

“With this tower, UMMC will continue to be a source of hope and healing for children and their families,” she said.

Sanderson, who, with wife Kathy chairs the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the $100 million philanthropic drive to bring the tower to completion, said the project is also a boost to the state’s economic health.

“This will ensure better outcomes for children, but also better research now and research that hasn’t even been thought of yet,” he said. “It will bring more doctors to the state, and more jobs.”

Children’s of Mississippi leaders anticipate recruiting 30-40 new physicians as the facility is built and after it is opened, since it will provide additional capacity. At a minimum, about 50-75 staff positions, not including physicians, would be added after construction.

Jim Gorrie, CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, the project’s general contractor, said state businesses are profiting from what is the largest construction project underway in Mississippi.

“More than 90 percent of the work you see here has been done by local contractors,” he said. “We have about 350 people working on the site. It’s an incredible thing to see.”

Dr. Mary Taylor’s first day as UMMC’s chair of the Department of Pediatrics was the day ground was broken on the project. Since then, she’s watched as work has moved from excavation to the pouring of massive steel-reinforced piers that form the tower’s strong foundation.

“We deliver world-class care here today,” said Taylor. “Our pediatric care team achieves outcomes that rival the best children’s hospitals in the country, and soon, we will have a facility that matches their skills.”

Philanthropy is fueling the project. The Sandersons launched the campaign in 2016 with a $10 million personal donation, followed soon after by a $20 million commitment from Friends of Children’s Hospital. Since then, the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi has raised more than 74 percent of its $100 million goal.

“The fact that we have come this far in the three years since the campaign’s launch shows how much Mississippians value children and their health and how generous the people of Mississippi really are,” Sanderson said.

Families around the state will benefit from this expansion whether their children are hospital inpatients or seeing a team of experts at the new outpatient clinic, said Holly Armstrong of Oxford, whose daughter Aubrey, 14, represents the state as its 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion.

Tara Cumberland of Meridian also hailed the project. Her daughter, Sybil, 7, a pediatric cardiology patient, dances competitively following surgery during infancy and follow-up care since.

“This will be great for us when we go in for check-ups,” she said, “but this is for the families whose children will need care here in the future, too. It will be an even better experience for them.”

Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins said the hospital expansion will be a place where physicians are trained and research is conducted, but it will also be an investment in the state’s children.

“The trustees of the state’s Institutions of Higher Learning and I can think of no better investment than in the health of our children, because they are the future of Mississippi.”



Anonymous said...

Out of state prime contractor, prime architects, and engineers.

Anonymous said...

That’s where you find the qualified individuals for such a project in Mississippi. Those who think they are currently qualified for this are simply politically connected, adding to the illustrious status of being one of the most corrupt states in America. By the way, there are locals on the design team and I am in the construction business just not at this magnitude.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been working in the commercial building industry for three decades. You
won’t find a better GC in this state than Brasfield and Gorrie. First class all the way.

Anonymous said...

B&G is a well qualified, quality contractor. But its not true that there aren't other contractors within the state that could handle this project. $180 million is a big deal and maybe the biggest underway at the present time, but there have been plenty of others bigger over the past several years.

Nevertheless, B&G is quality, and for those that want to "buy local" you can be assured that most of the folks working on the project are local, both the individuals and the subcontractors. Same as it would be if someone from elsewhere in MS were the General.

Anonymous said...

That's a wicked-looking storm cloud to the north in this image.

Crooks in Canton Contract for Christmas Cash said...

Meanwhile; Three corrupt county supervisors meeting in Canton yesterday approved a motion to contract with an engineering firm that employs Rudy Warnock. Just in time for campaign contributions and Christmas bonuses.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad this is moving along well. My most serious concern is why are our children so sick? Why all of the autism and celiac and peanut allergies and childhood cancer? What the hell did the baby boomers do to the air and the soil to poison their own grand children and great grandchildren?

Was winning the Cold War really worth everything you psychos did?

Anonymous said...

I hope the comrade at 8:05am is joking, but I am afraid they are not....sadly.

Yates could have easily handled this project. $180 million is about average for them. B&G is a great company as well, but the above posters ignore that we have a homegrown top 25 (in revenue) contractor in Yates. Never have understand all the hate on here for one of the greatest companies this state has ever produced.

Anonymous said...

I do not consider Yates a local contractor considering the multiple locations, and lets not get started how he built it off the backs off others. Another one that could handle it is Roy Anderson but it’s a subsidiary of a Las Vegas based company.

coffee and cornbread said...

I love this blog page. Blair Batson is being expanded to aid sick kids and push pediatrics ahead for Our State and all everyone does is fuss about who's contracting the building. What a time to be alive.

Anonymous said...

Yates' corporate office is in Philadelphia, MS. Their largest office is in Biloxi. They also have the Jackson office. They also own Edwards Electric and Jesco, bot HQ'd in MS. They employ literally 1000's of Mississippians.

B&G's HQ is in B'ham. They have a satellite office here with a staff of about 8.

Who would you deem to be more local?

Signed, FORMER Yates employee, who has the intelligence to realize all of the cash they have created for this state.

Anonymous said...

The construction project was awarded by a bidding process. Obviously, B&G came in with a better bid than Yates. Taking the most economically advantageous bid is what all of us should want. Competition is good for everybody.

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