Growth & Expansion

A historic project

Construction of a 750,000-square-feet expansion project, the largest health care construction project in Alabama state history, was completed in June, 2012 to accommodate projected growth in patient volume, anticipated medical technology needs, planned consolidation of pediatric services and a family-centered design that will enhance patient and family comfort. The building was named the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in honor of the legendary Alabama entrepreneur. Benjamin Russell’s grandson, Ben, and Ben’s wife, Luanne, donated $25 million of the $400 million project. Patients were welcomed in August, 2012.

Features of the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children

To promote family-centered care and provide the highest quality pediatric health care available, the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children has more beds, larger patient rooms, a much larger emergency department and four additional operating rooms compared to the McWane Building. The Bruno Pediatric Heart Center, at Children’s featuring 20 CICU rooms, four dedicated CV-ECMO suites, cardiovascular ORs and a highly specialized hybrid heart catheterization lab, provides a unique single platform continuum of care with UAB for pediatric and adult patients with congenital heart disease. The solid organ transplant (liver, kidney and heart) program, currently split between UAB and Children’s, will be united in the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children as well.

The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children is expected to become Alabama’s first LEED-certified hospital building and the largest LEED-certified project in the state to date. “Green” buildings are healthy buildings with more natural light, clean air circulation and materials designed to limit toxic emissions, creating an environment of wellness for patients and staff alike that is in sync with the Children’s mission. “Green” buildings are also more energy-efficient, require less maintenance and last longer. Thus, cost savings can be directed toward resources that enable Children’s to provide excellent health care to the children of Alabama.

Economic impact

The cost of the expansion project totaled approximately $400 million ($320 million for construction and $80 million for equipment and furnishings) with financing for the project comprised of bonds, requests for state, county and local government support, and funds donated by employees and individuals to the Keeping Promises capital campaign. The Keeping Promises campaign ended two years early and exceeded its $100 million goal by an additional $10 million. An estimated 2,000 jobs with a $71 million construction payroll have been generated by the project, bringing a significant economic boost to the state of Alabama, Jefferson County and the city of Birmingham.