Children’s Hospital invites visitors

An+open-air%2C+rooftop+garden+at+the+University+of+Iowa+Stead+Family+Childrens+Hospital+on+Saturday%2C+November+5%2C+2016.+The+hospital+hosted+a+weekend+open+house+for+the+new+%24364+building.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FOlivia+Sun%29

An open-air, rooftop garden at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The hospital hosted a weekend open house for the new $364 building. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)

The new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital held an open house for the community this past weekend.

By Naomi Hofferber

[email protected]

Children are not simply patients and procedures in the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital — they are the sole focus of design.

The Children’s Hospital held an open house on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 in which community members and hospital staff were invited to tour the lobby, lower level two, and floors six and 12 of the hospital.

Spectators at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The hospital hosted a weekend open house for the new $364 building. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)
Spectators at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The hospital hosted a weekend open house for the new $364 building. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)

“We had people lined up literally at 8 before we opened the doors, kind of like waiting to get into an amusement park,” Scott Turner, the executive director of the Children’s Hospital, said at the event on the morning of Nov. 5.

The effect of the meticulous kid-friendly design was apparent at the open house; children pointed out the brightly colored statues placed throughout the hospital floors, one toddler exclaiming, “It’s a sunshine” when coming across one of a vibrant sun.

The precision in design is almost surgical — the tiniest of details have been taken into consideration, from small designs on the walls for children to play I-spy to a tiny light-up chick at the bottom of a reception desk to distract young ones on the lower level two.

The walls are bright and cheery, decorated with animals and designs to reflect different natural geographies in Iowa: prairies, grasslands, farmlands, and woodlands.

“Every floor has its own distinct color, if you were to vertically align the colors of the farmlands, woodlands, prairies, skies — that’s the color scheme. We have the warmer hues below ground and the cooler colors above ground,” Turner said. “The entire building is meant to reflect the state of Iowa.”

Various diverse groups decided on the features of the new hospital; everyone from families to experts had a say in design.

Activities at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The hospital hosted a weekend open house for the new $364 building. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)
Activities at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The hospital hosted a weekend open house for the new $364 building. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)

“We’ve engaged the family advisory council, the youth advisory council, the clinicians, the staff, and we all have that expert advice coming from all the different aspects of what their specialty is,” said Jason Miller, the director of Project Management of the Children’s Hospital. “When you put in attention to all those little things, it culminates this experience … it just makes everything comprehensive. Everything is integrated.”

Along with an innovative family friendly design, the Children’s Hospital also is home to the very first CT Flash by Siemens computed tomography scanner in North America — the fourth ever worldwide.

Typical CT scans can take up to five minutes — this machine does the job in under 30 seconds, which means that for small children, the process is less frightening and requires less sedation.110716-childrenhostpital-os

“It’s a great example of how we’re going to be able to blend the great compassionate care that our teams already provide with truly well designed technology,” Turner said.

The walls of the imaging room are bright purple, and small colored lights are embedded in the ceiling, which can light up to distract patients.While not working in the new hospital, Candie Hooton, a part of a pediatrics specialty clinic in cardiology and ECHO of the Children’s Hospital, said the new facility will provide a family-friendly experience.

“I think it’s very family-oriented; the family does not have to be around the staff necessarily — they can have some privacy,” she said. “I think when kids have their families with them, they are going to get well quicker. I think it will help the staff because the parent knows the child best.”

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