The Emergency Department and Level 1 Trauma Center at the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee campus will be expanded and moved to the front of the hospital to improve access, child and family experience, and patient care.
The expansion was originally announced as part of a multi-year facilities improvement project in 2018. Through the design process, Children’s Wisconsin identified an opportunity to build a new space near the main hospital entrance rather than renovating the existing department. This will make it easier for families to access the Emergency Department.
The project has received $5 million in donations, with the Ladish Co. Foundation contributing $4 million and the Jendusa family donating $1 million. Portions of each gift will help create four rooms specifically designed to support kids experiencing a mental health crisis. This special unit will be supported by a new mental and behavioral health crisis team, which was established earlier this year thanks to a $2.5 million donation from the United Health Foundation.
“This community is fortunate to have an independent children’s hospital that is recognized as one of the best in the country,” said Wayne Larsen, trustee, Ladish Co. Foundation. “Children’s Wisconsin is committed to adapting and growing to meet the needs of our community and we are happy our gift is helping the kids of Wisconsin today.”
The Ladish Co. Foundation, United Health Foundation and Jendusa family donations help meet a $15 million challenge announced in January. The donations all support the $150 million commitment of Children's Wisconsin to address the mental and behavioral health needs of kids in Wisconsin.
The new Emergency Department is expected to open in late 2023. When completed, it will expand from 34 to 48 treatment rooms, including the four rooms dedicated to mental and behavioral health needs and state-of-the-art trauma and resuscitation rooms. Additional space will support advance imaging capabilities. Last year, the department supported families during more than 70,000 visits.
“The current Emergency Department is in the same footprint as when the hospital opened in 1988,” said Amy Drendel, DO, medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Wisconsin. “The new space will improve family access and help ensure that Children’s Wisconsin continues to be one of the leading pediatric emergency departments in the country that families can rely on.”
The current Emergency Department and Trauma Center will remain fully operational throughout construction.
Preliminary renderings of the project show where the project will exist on the campus. The final design is being developed and the project still needs approvals from Wauwatosa. The total investment into the Milwaukee campus, including a six-story addition for specialty clinics and surgical services started in 2018 and the move of the Emergency Department to the front of the hospital, is estimated to be $385 million. Children’s Wisconsin has planned and budgeted for the capital improvements, including through the issuance of bond financing. Philanthropic support is influencing programs, services and amenities available in the new spaces.
“The generosity of donors allows Children’s to provide programs in innovative ways and to provide services that are not self-sustaining,” said Meg Brzyski Nelson, president of the Children’s Wisconsin Foundation. “The experience families will have in this new space will be better because of their support.”
A live webcam of the construction site is available on the Children's Wisconsin website.
Other work associated with the campus improvement plan continues as planned. Phase three of the surgery renovation, including a new surgical waiting area, is currently being outfitted with equipment and furniture, and will open to patient families in January. The final phase of the surgery renovation will be completed in 2021.
CannonDesign continues to provide architectural support for the projects with The Boldt Company serving as the general contractor.