New Maternity Facility at Texas Children's Hospital Is "Showing!" Sparkling "Tree of Miracles" Raised During Topping Out Ceremony


HOUSTON - (June 3, 2010) - Decorated with sparkling red crystals and ribbons, a live red oak "Tree of Miracles" was raised 200 feet today to the top of the new maternity building at Texas Children's Hospital, currently under construction in the Texas Medical Center. The ceremony marked an important milestone---the completion of the 16-story building's beam structure. When it opens in 2011,the center will usher in a new era for the hospital as it expands into obstetrical care, establishing one of the nation's premier facilities for maternal and newborn health. Texas Children's will offer the full continuum of family-centered care, beginning before conception and continuing after delivery, with a special focus on high-risk births.

"With this new building, Texas Children's will provide an unprecedented setting for mothers and babies to receive the best care, provided by many of the world's leading experts and using the most advanced technologies and treatments," said Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children's Hospital, addressing the crowd of spectators. "We are standing on the future site of miracles."

Echoing that theme, the tree decorations included keepsake crystal pins created by internationally-known designer Mindy Lam to commemorate the miracles of life that will occur during the center's first year. The unique pins feature a single branch with two delicate red blossoms, symbolizing mother and baby, and each resembling the Texas Children's Hospital logo.

Wallace pointed out that the imagery of the pin, which represents the close connection between mother and child, is a perfect symbol for the family-centered care model around which the new facility is designed. "Our family-centered approach focuses on caring for mother and child together, to promote bonding from the very first moments of life," he said.

Noting that the executives overseeing the building's development from vision to reality are all women and mothers, Wallace introduced Laura Bellows, chairman of the board of W.S. Bellows Construction Corporation; Diane Osan, lead architect and senior principal with FKP Architects; Ann Stern, executive vice president for Texas Children's Hospital; and Cris Daskevich, senior vice president for Texas Children's Hospital and lead operations executive for the maternity initiative. Wallace also acknowledged Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, who donated the leadership gift of $25 million for the new center.

A crowd of about 500 gathered for the ceremony and included hospital donors,board members, physicians, nurses and staff, plus more than 400 construction workers and executives from Bellows Construction.

"We are proud and honored to work with Texas Children's Hospital on this project, which will be another site of miracles for this visionary institution," said Laura Bellows. "Miracles such as births that might not havebeen, healing and caring for children before they are born, and breakthroughs in research and care for mothers and newborns will all take place here."

After a daylong display on the rooftop, the live oak will be donated to Trees for Houston for planting at a community site.

Located adjacent to the Texas Medical Center at 6651 South Main Street, the$575 million maternity center will include the advanced care of Level II and Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) with private rooms, Texas Children's Fetal Center, OB/GYN physician practices, state-of-the-art assisted reproductive and fertility services, and connection via a sweeping circular sky bridge to the hospital's current pediatric care facilities, West Tower and Wallace Tower. The building itself is based on the latest concepts of evidence-based design, which recognizes the environment as a vital part of therapeutic treatment, helping to promote overall health and well being. Within abeautiful, soothing setting, the facility will have a 90-bed capacity and be able to accommodate more than 5,000 births per year. Interior design for the state-of-the-art facility, including patient rooms and family areas, was created with input from expecting and recent new mothers. The 790,000 square-foot facility will also feature a four-level underground parking garage that can accommodate up to 1,000 cars.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.