Children's Healthcare To Start New Campus In 2018
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is preparing to start construction in 2018 on its more than $1 billion replacement hospital and pediatric campus in Brookhaven. The health system on Nov. 16 was expected to hold a public meeting to announce details about the planned 446-bed hospital and its environs at Interstate 85 and North Druid Hills Road.
Children’s is in the master planning phase for its up to $1.3 billion hospital with 16 to 19 stories and two patient towers and a 348,000-square-foot office building to replace its existing administrative offices in the area. Construction is already underway on the site for a 260,000-square foot Center for Advanced Pediatrics, projected to be completed in summer 2018. The campus is the largest health-care project in Georgia’s history. It will create 16,500 construction jobs through 2025 and 3,600 permanent net jobs upon its opening.
“We’re thinking very long term to make sure future generations of kids and families we’ll never have the opportunity to see can benefit from this investment,” said Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s.
Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported in April 2016 that Children’s was buying up land at North Druid Hills and I-85, and last February it announced plans to build a replacement hospital. At the time, Hyland said the new hospital is needed because Children’s already is using “every ounce of space it can” on its existing campuses.
“It’s really about expanding access,” Hyland told the Chronicle last February. “We had a sense we were going to have to do something pretty big, because Egleston [Children’s hospital on Clifton Road] sits on 7 acres. There’s just not room to grow."
Children’s shares Clifton Road with the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory Healthcare, the latter of which is also planning its own major expansion along North Druid Hills. Emory purchased about 70 acres and is planning up to 2.3 million square feet of development, though it hasn’t shared many details yet. Part of its new medical and research campus includes Emory Sports Medicine Complex in partnership with the Atlanta Hawks.
Emory, the CDC and Children’s at Egleston are landlocked in their current locations on Clifton, a notoriously congested corridor, and in June 2017, the three institutions filed an annexation request with the city of Atlanta to become incorporated into the city. The pending annexation could potentially bring improvements to infrastructure and public transit on Clifton, but Children’s and Emory are also thinking ahead about ways to relocate services to more accessible parts of the city.
“When we looked at what we would need to do [at Egleston], the investment is probably as much or more than the new hospital, and then you wouldn’t have the optimal facility and campus that we will have here,” Hyland said.
Together, Emory and Children’s could create a new health-care hub in Atlanta similar to Pill Hill, an area in Sandy Springs where Northside Hospital’s flagship campus and Children’s Scottish Rite campus are located.
“We don’t know what Emory’s plans are, though we’re obviously staying in contact,” Hyland said. “But I think it has potential.”
An Emory spokesperson declined to comment on its plans for the area.
Children’s new site at North Druid Hills and I-85 poses its own traffic issues, and it will spend more than $40 million making infrastructure improvements, including plans to support a redesign of the I-85/North Druid Hills intersection and a new entrance to the future campus off North Druid Hills. Children’s engaged engineering consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates to help design a new connection underneath I-85 to allow direct vehicular access to the campus, and eventually surrounding neighborhoods like Executive Park and Cliff Valley Way will be able to use it to access the planned Peachtree Creek Greenway.
An entrance for the Emergency Department will be built on an existing I-85 access road to separate ambulances and other emergency traffic from the main entrance.
“It’s been a collaborative effort with the experts at Kimley-Horn, the neighbors, the city of Brookhaven and the Georgia Department of Transportation to look at how we can be a catalyst for transportation improvements that have been needed in this area frankly for a long time,” Hyland said. “It will benefit the entire region around us.”
Access to green space has been shown to improve patient outcomes and result in 8.5 percent shorter hospital stays, so Children’s has also allocated 20 acres of its more than 70-acre site for walking and biking trails and hundreds of trees. Architecture and landscape firms HKS and HGOR Inc. designed the campus.
“To have 20 acres of green space in a health-care environment is just so unusual in today’s world,” Hyland said. “That’s what’s going to really differentiate us from most other places in the state, but also around the country.”
Once construction is completed on Children’s new, as-yet unnamed hospital, its Egleston hospital on Clifton will phase out inpatient operations. In the meantime, it has added beds for short-term needs. Children’s also has plans to add 46 beds at its Scottish Rite hospital and expand its emergency services at its Hughes Spalding campus downtown to prepare for future growth.
Across its three hospitals, Children’s currently has 632 beds, and it will need up to 750 by 2026. By 2036, it will need 950 beds.
Children’s is scheduled to present its master plan to the Brookhaven Planning Commission Dec. 6 and Brookhaven City Council Dec. 12. Both meetings will be open to the public. The hospital and campus is slated to be completed in 2026.
“We’re pushing as hard as we can, because we need the capacity, but it’s a very big project and the move will be very complicated,” Hyland said. “...This is something that will be an asset for Atlanta and for our state that others can be as proud of as we will.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Other campus facts
70+ total acres
20 acres of green space
4x the number of trees currently on site
$40 million in traffic improvements to the area
will create 16,500 construction and associated jobs through 2025
3,600 net permanent jobs will be created
Children’s replacement hospital
will cost $1 billion to $1.3 billion
16 to 19 stories
two patient towers
Center for Advanced Pediatrics
260,000 square feet
will be completed summer 2018