Memorial to open a freestanding Children's Hospital

Memorial to open a freestanding Children's Hospital

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Major news came out of Memorial University Medical Center Wednesday; they are partnering with Novant Health to establish its first freestanding children's hospital.

The new children's hospital, which will be named Children's Hospital of Savannah, will be housed in Memorial's Rehabilitation Institute building. The institute will move into the hospital's main building.

"This is great news," said Memorial's CEO Maggie Gill. "What has come together is the right partner with Novant Health and the right location, and a great home for our rehabilitation institute. All this coming together at this time has made this dream finally come true."

The Children's Hospital of Savannah will house all pediatric inpatient units, a pediatric intensive care unit, a two room surgical suite, a 24-hour emergency department dedicated just for children and a family support space.

The news of the new hospital has a lot of parents, like Marion Harkleroad, praising Memorial.

"Just to know they're going to have a bigger and better facility with more equipment and more room for equipment to save more babies' lives is extremely exciting to us," said Harkleroad.

His son, Marion Gray Harkleroad III spent about three weeks in the Children's Hospital when he was first born in 2011.

"He wasn't fully developed properly," said Harkleroad. "He had growth restrictions while he was in the womb. He was only at two pounds at 32 weeks."

He almost died, but thanks to the doctors and staff at Memorial, he didn't.

Huckleroad said, during the time that his son was in the hospital he noticed that the current space at the Children's Hospital needed to be expanded to treat more children.

"There's a huge need for this bigger building," said Huckleroad.

The staff at the Children's Hospital couldn't agree more.

"We do great work here at the children's hospital, but to be able to have a building where the community can actually see the children's hospital really allows us to show off the great work that we do here," said Heath Newsome, the clinical director at the Children's Hospital.

"Since we're the only children's hospital in this part of Georgia, we know the need is there and we've seen it grow year to year and we want to continue to meet the regional need," said Gill.

The project will cost $28 million. Novant will pay half and Memorial will take care of the rest. The hospital is planning a capital campaign to raise money. Gill says they will announce what that campaign is in mid February.

The new hospital is scheduled to open in about three years, according to Gill.

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