It may be almost a year away from opening to the public, but the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital construction is more than 65% finished. The inRegister team recently got a behind-the-construction-gate tour—complete with hard hats and safety goggles—to preview the progress. Many walls are already painted cheery colors, one-of-a-kind art is being installed, and landscaping—yes, lush landscaping—is going in. But the large glass doors to this much-anticipated health care facility aren’t scheduled to officially open until Oct. 4 of 2019.
“We want this hospital to serve as a beacon of hope and healing for children from all over Louisiana,” says Danny Fields, director and major gifts officer at Our Lady of the Lake. “Whether it’s the design of the hospital room, the operating room, the lab, the chapel or the waiting areas, every square inch has been designed with children and families in mind.”
The $230-million children’s hospital will have 360,000 square feet of patient-care space, an emergency department with trauma and pediatric transport, and a floor dedicated to a St. Jude affiliate clinic and cancer treatment services. But it is the creative aesthetics throughout the interiors that make it unlike most staid hospital scenes. With youngsters in mind, this hospital is designed to spotlight vibrant ecosystems from throughout Louisiana—including woodlands, marshes and the coast—along with animals indigenous to each region.
“This facility, built upon the values of the Franciscan Mission of Our Lady, has strong thematic pillars derived from the natural world,” says Ann Connelly, whose company Ann Connelly Fine Art serves as art consultant to develop the hospital’s artwork program. “The theme of water is a universal symbol that resonates with people of all walks of life. The children’s hospital story is built on the connection to our natural environment and the cultural and religious heritage of our state.”
Connelly says her team followed behind renowned institutions like the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, to point to the quantifiable impact artwork has in a healing environment. Their goal was to create an experience for the patient, families, visitors and the hospital care-giving team while partnering with the architects, designers and interior designers involved. All have come away with a greater appreciation for the special needs of young children and the importance of building bright, creative spaces to aid in the healing process.
“We really enjoy building children’s hospitals, where we are creating fun spaces for kids,” says Alexander Schmid, project manager at Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor on the project. “We’ve enjoyed being a part of the OLOL Children’s Hospital because we’ve been able to incorporate so many special details in the design. It’s made this job fun.”
And for more on the hospital, read this story from the inRegister archives.