The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

With the help of many, new UI hospital prepares to open its doors

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/file photo)

By Laura Scott

[email protected]

It was standing-room-only on Nov. 11 in the lobby of the brand-new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Doctors, nurses, patients, families, and many more were gathered for the dedication of the new facility and the addition of the Stead Family’s name to the hospital.

“This is phenomenal,” said UI President Bruce Harreld as he addressed the crowd. “This is in fact what I think life is all about.”

Harreld was referring to the investment of the UI community in this project, which will help further the university’s goal of caring for and educating future generations.

Lynette Marshall, the president and CEO of the UI Foundation, said roughly 11,000 donors from 50 states came together to make construction possible. Spaces throughout the new Children’s Hospital, she said, reflect the names of either those who supported the project or the names of their loved ones.

The top floor of what is now the tallest building in Iowa City features a large, communal play space. The open floor plan offers panoramic views of Iowa City and of the Kinnick Stadium field, and children and their families will be able to catch all the excitement of Hawkeye games for free.
Mary Ferentz, the head of the Children’s Hospital Council who acted as a community liaison during the project, said the facility was designed with the input of close to 500 people, from community members in Iowa City to experts at various children’s hospitals across the nation.

Learning what did and did not work in different facilities, Ferentz said, was critical to the careful design plan and unique touches visible throughout the hospital.

To help patients navigate, colorful icons that incorporate Iowan traditions and symbols have been assigned to each of the hospital’s 14 floors — two below ground and 12 above.

Nick’s Family Theater features an interactive screen with games children can play on the ground floor — one in which they can pretend to soar over both national and Iowan landmarks as eagles, trying to score points and compete with other eagles.

The Janice & Bruce Ellig Children’s Library is tucked away on the ground floor and features several smaller, connected spaces rather than one big room. The cozy design includes couches, so children can presumably squire away with their books. Windows look out onto what will soon be an outdoor playground.

Kenneth Kates, the CEO of UI Hospital and Clinics and the associate vice president of UI Health Care, wanted to specifically thank the involvement of construction workers, who, among many other small, personal touches on the project, helped raise a beam signed by patients of the children’s hospital.

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, the major benefactors of the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, spoke to standing ovations at both their entrances to and exits from the stage. The two met at the UI as students, and they have continued to stay closely tied to the community.

“I wake up every morning and think, how do I help great people do great things?” Jerre Stead said. “We’re so proud to be part of the most wonderful institution in the world.”

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