Cincinnati planners OK $300M–$500M Children's Hospital expansion
The Cincinnati Planning Commission has given the green light to an expansion of Cincinnati Children's Hospital that is expected to cost between $300 million and $500 million, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.
The addition would include a 650,000-square-foot, eight-story medical tower — increasing the hospital's bed count by 150 to 610 beds — and a parking garage addition with 1,100 new spaces.
Locals have pushed back on the project because 16 homes must be vacated and demolished to make way for the new construction. The hospital is a major source of jobs in Cincinnati, but critics say it is treating residents of the historic, black neighborhood unfairly. The project is aiming for 30% minority and women-owned business participation and, upon completion, 50 permanent jobs for local minority residents.
Back in March, it was estimated that the project could be as expensive as $650 million and create 600 temporary construction positions.
While the prospect of hospitals tasked with treating children tugs at the heartstrings, just like in Cincinnati, their mission does not always give them a free pass from the community when it comes to significant construction projects.
For example, when Boston Children's Hospital announced last year that it would undertake a $1 billion expansion, critics said that the new, expensive project would make treatment costlier for patients. Activists also objected to the demolition of a garden on the hospital grounds. According to an advocacy group that made an unsuccessful attempt to stop the construction of the planned 11-story high rise, the garden was a refuge for patients and their families.
Proponents of the project said the new space would serve mostly out-of-state patients and would not increase costs for those Massachusetts residents using the hospital's services. The Massachusetts Public Health Council in October voted unanimously to approve the project, and it should be completed in 2025.
Of course, most of these projects win community approval. In February, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta announced that it would build a new $1 billion pediatric hospital just outside of the city in Brookhaven, GA. This is just one of many new projects for the healthcare system, which is building outpatient clinics, a specialized care facility and expanding bed counts throughout the state.
- Cincinnati Business Courier Cincinnati Children’s gets key approval for massive expansion
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter