Robyn Rogers, MD, FAAP
Hospital Representative, WCAAP Board of Trustees
A long-cherished dream will soon become a reality for Mary Bridge Children’s: a new standalone children’s hospital in the heart of the South Sound. To be located on the current Tacoma campus, every aspect of our new hospital will be designed for the unique needs of infants, children, youth and families.
This is an exciting next chapter in our decades-long service to our region’s families. Beginning with a dedicated group of community women in 1921 (the current Mary Bridge Brigade), pediatric care close to home has always been the goal. This locally driven effort paid off when our first hospital opened in 1955, in what is now the outpatient Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center. As we grew, the need for physical space led to moving to a hospital-within-a-hospital model. Since 1987, Mary Bridge Children’s has been co-located in a large building structure with Tacoma General Hospital. Most services for kids, such as the pediatric emergency department and inpatient wards, are physically separate spaces that are not in continuity with adult facilities. However, some areas such as diagnostic imaging are shared. While thoughtfully designed with children’s needs in mind, this layout necessarily limits our ability to completely dedicate the entire environment exclusively for pediatrics.
Building a new children’s hospital is possible due to continuing support and guidance from our local community. While the announcement of our new hospital was delayed several months by the emergence of coronavirus, the project has been in active planning for more than two years. And now more than ever, the need for a completely separate pediatric care space close to home is singularly apparent. Our new facilities will continue our commitment to excellence, safety and reliability. With kid friendly spaces, all private rooms and a destination surgical center of excellence, every aspect of the Mary Bridge experience will be exclusively crafted for the needs of children and their families. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2021 and will proceed in a careful stepwise approach to minimize disruption to the local area. Care and services will continue to be provided during this three-year project. We hope to open our new doors in 2024.
As a proud pediatric hospitalist at Mary Bridge Children’s, I couldn’t be more thrilled by this news. From my core pediatric rotation here Mary Bridge during medical school to my return as a clinician, I’ve seen how the mutual dedication of the Mary Bridge family and our local community has always been our touchstone. This new facility will increase and streamline access for any child to the Mary Bridge network and strengthen our ability to support all families in need of care. Together, we look forward to this next realization of our 100-year old mission of service to all children.