A castle look for children's hospital
Published: February 7, 2007
A model shows how the Sanford Children's Hospital
might look when it is scheduled to open in spring 2009.
The Sanford Children's Hospital probably will make a striking visual imprint on its central Sioux Falls neighborhood: it's going to look like a castle.
Sanford Health on Saturday announced a $400 million donation from First Premier Bank owner T. Denny Sanford that will allow it to build a new research park, enclosed by a large, heated dome.
It also retired its old name, Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System.
Plans already were in motion for Sanford Children's Hospital to break ground this spring and open in 2009.
Jan Haugen-Rogers, Sanford vice president of children's services, said the castle theme will help make the hospital child-friendly. Officials say the hospital and research park also will be neighborhood-friendly, with few adverse effects on traffic, parking or infrastructure.
The four-story Sanford Children's Hospital will have a clinic on its ground floor, plus 62 private rooms on its upper three floors. That will absorb the 47 current pediatrics beds in 37 rooms.
A skyway will connect the third floor to the neonatal intensive care unit, in an existing hospital building, Haugen-Rogers said.
Many of the jobs in the new children's hospital will migrate from elsewhere on the Sanford campus. But she said it's possible 30 to 50 new jobs could be added over the first five years.
The exterior will have flags, towers, walls that look like stone and other trappings of a storybook castle, she said.
"We're trying to build it so that children feel really good coming here."
The hospital cost is now estimated at $52 million, a number that has risen since T. Denny Sanford's original gift of $16 million. Sanford Health has raised another $16 million in matching donations, and will cover the rest with its own funds, said Haugen-Rogers.
City officials and Sanford Health executives expect little impact on traffic and city services as the health system expands.
The only change in city infrastructure will be more storm drainage capacity, including new detention ponds. Sanford Health will pick up that bill, said Jeff Schmitt, assistant planning director for Sioux Falls.
Schmitt says the city is in a good position to deal with the new hospital's impacts on traffic and parking. The same is likely true for the research park, though Schmitt says he learned details of that plan at the same time as the general public.
He said the city will work with Sanford on parking capacity and locations. The City Council would have to approve rezoning and the possible closure of Euclid Avenue where it runs through the middle of the research site.
City administrators would also have to approve new property lines and could require improvements to water, sewer and drainage, Schmitt said.
The experience of Rochester, Minn. in dealing with a recent expansion of the Mayo Clinic suggests that the impacts on Sioux Falls' infrastructure could be modest.
"Downtown Rochester is always under construction," said Jeff Ellerbusch, a senior planner with the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department. "It seems like it's a never-ending thing. A few years ago, there were five cranes over downtown Rochester."
Yet that city has done a good job minimizing the impact of Mayo's four recent projects, though downtown is becoming more congested. The clinic has already studied the possibility of building a light rail system in 10 or 15 years to ease traffic, he said.
The situation is different in Sioux Falls. The city is larger, the construction projects are smaller and the new buildings will be about a mile away from the heart of downtown.
Even during construction of Sanford Children's Hospital there will be few problems, according to Randy Bury, Sanford Health's chief administrative officer.
"In terms of impacts on neighbors, I think it will be pretty minimal," he said