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Children’s Hospital of San Antonio revived; downtown facility unveils grant-funded renovations
May 26, 2016

Visitors walk through the Goldsbury Foundation Lobby during a “transformation celebration” at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Photo by Marvin Pfeiffer / San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio Express-News
May 26, 2016

Children’s Hospital of San Antonio may still be undergoing renovations, but caregivers and supporters unveiled some of the facility’s newly constructed public spaces Wednesday — including a new entrance and sweeping, two-story lobby — funded by the largest gift in Christus Santa Rosa Health System’s history.

The additions — which also include a brightly lit chapel, gardens spanning more than 2 acres, a café and a teaching kitchen to emphasize healthy nutrition — were funded by a $20 million gift from the Goldsbury Foundation, a philanthropic organization established by billionaire developer Christopher "Kit" Goldsbury and his wife, Angela. That donation, announced in 2013, remains the largest ever given to any hospital in the nonprofit, Catholic health system.

Around 200 people gathered Wednesday to formally recognize the hospital’s ongoing transformation. The Goldsburys were not present, but were given a private tour Tuesday night, hospital officials said.

Construction will continue through the middle of next year.

"This journey is over 25 years in the making," Christus Santa Rosa Health System CEO Ken Haynes told the crowds standing outside the hospital’s new entrance facing North San Saba Street. "Our children deserve a world-class children’s hospital."

The changes began in 2012 when Christus officials decided to revamp the former Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital and Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-City Centre into a single, stand-alone pediatric hospital offering more specialized care at the 10-acre downtown site.

So far, that effort has cost around $150 million, Christus officials told the San Antonio Express-News’ editorial board last week.

The second level of the two-story Goldsbury Foundation Lobby has glass walls that allow visitors to overlook the hospital’s new entrance and café. The teaching kitchen, stationed near the café, will house the Culinary Health Education for Families program, which will provide nutritional and cooking instruction. The gardens will be grown over the next three to six months.

"This is the first freestanding children’s hospital that we’ve ever had in San Antonio," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told those attending Wednesday’s event. "We join about 50 other cities that have freestanding (pediatric) hospitals."

Such facilities are unique, Wolff said, because they have subspecialists who can treat rare and complex diseases in children, a strong network of care providers, research programs and an academic affiliation with a medical school.

Children’s Hospital has nearly 170 Baylor College of Medicine physicians working at its facility. Because the hospital follows an "open practice" model and welcomes other physicians from San Antonio to its facility, an additional 60 physicians in private practices also see patients there. Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston also provides clinical expertise.

The downtown San Antonio hospital recently welcomed the city’s first board-certified pediatric rheumatologist to its ranks, a recruit from Johns Hopkins University, said Dr. Mark Gilger, pediatrician in chief. Children’s Hospital also has the only two pediatric geneticists in San Antonio. And its pediatric neurology team features three epileptologists.

The hospital has recruited a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who is building a program to care for expectant mothers facing high-risk pregnancies or births.

"There is a whole realm of new talent in the city," Gilger said.

A select group of pediatric residents from the Baylor College of Medicine also undergoes hands-on training at Children’s Hospital. The hospital welcomed its inaugural class last summer.

Once renovations are completed next year, the hospital will have 200 patient beds. All of those beds, except for a portion of the neonatal intensive care unit, will be in private rooms. The hospital also will have space to add 20 more beds in the future if needed.

Currently, the hospital can accommodate up to 160 beds, Haynes said.


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