Norton Children's Hospital Plans $78M Upgrades, Including Jennifer Lawrence Unit

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Rendering of new exterior of Norton Children's Hospital at Floyd and Chestnut streets, part of a $78 million expansion and renovation slated for a 2021 completion.(Photo: Norton Heathcare)

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Norton Healthcare plans to pour $78 million into its children's hospital for renovations and the creation of the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

Improvements set for two neonatal intensive care units as well as the "Just for Kids" Critical Care Center are projected to expand critical care capacity from 26 to 38.

The project, projected to last through 2021, will allow the children's hospital at Floyd and Chestnut streets downtown to help 1,400 premature and critically ill infants each year.

Norton expects to raise $20 million in donations toward the project and use bond funding for the balance of the investment, which the hospital's leaderships had planned for years, Thomas D. Kmetz, division president of Women’s and Children’s Services and Norton Children’s Hospital, said in an interview Friday morning. "Our objective is to make sure that our facilities match the high quality of care" provided for children and their families.

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Fundraising for the new 17-bed cardiac intensive care unit got a big boost last year when actress Jennifer Lawrence donated $2 million from her foundation. The unit will go in on the hospital's fourth floor and feature private rooms and space for families to stay with their children. Patients will include those recovering from heart procedures and other conditions requiring intensive care. It is expected to open in late 2019.

Lawrence, who grew up in Louisville, is an Academy Award winner known for the lead role in "The Hunger Games" series and other Hollywood films. She has visited the hospital on trips home during the holidays and has said she's been inspired by the children she's met and felt moved to help with their care.

Norton also intends to build a new 7,000-square-foot conference center on the hospital's first floor, where McDonald's recently closed and Au Bon Pain is scheduled to open this spring. This first step of the project is slated to begin in May. To make way for the cardiac intensive care unit, an existing medical and surgical unit on the fourth floor will shift to the sixth floor and include 24 beds with private rooms and spaces for young children and adolescents to play.

The investment comes when Baptist Health said this week that it was eliminating 288 jobs across its eight markets, including 169 in the Louisville metro area. Baptist had lined up more than $400 million in revenue bonds to make improvements at several hospitals last fall but later backed off. Kmetz said that while the forecast for the health care industry "is a bit unsettled," the hospital's board has been thoughtful in its planning for improvements, and the ones now pulled to the front burner are needed.

Norton, meanwhile, lined up $725 million in tax-exempt bonds last year to refinance existing debt and invest in several projects, including $107 million for Norton Audubon and the Children's Hospital improvements. All told, Norton Healthcare has spent more than $600 million in capital projects and equipment at locations over the past five years, Michael W. Gough, Norton's executive vice president, said.

Reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at 502-582-4989 or mglowicki@courier-journal.com. Reporter Grace Schneider contributed to this report. Contact her at 502-582-4082.

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Source : http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/wellness/health/2017/03/17/78m-set-new-jennifer-lawrence-cardiac-unit-renovations-norton-childrens-hospital/99274488/

Norton Children's Hospital plans $78M upgrades, including Jennifer Lawrence unit
2014/15 bc children’s hospital foundation annual report
Norton Children's Hospital plans $78M upgrades, including Jennifer Lawrence unit