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May 8, 2003


Emory University Breaks Ground On New Pediatrics Building

ATLANTA -- A tree-lined entrance boulevard, multilingual concierge service, and environmentally sensitive design -- all are distinguishing features of the new people-friendly Emory Pediatrics Building, housing more than 140 faculty researchers and clinicians.

Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center will hold a small ceremony Friday, May 9 to officially mark the start of construction on the new $42 million building. The six-story, 144,000-square-foot structure will replace several smaller pediatrics buildings located on Ridgewood Drive behind Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Scheduled for completion in July 2004, the new building will give the Emory Children's Center and Department of Pediatrics a new identity with an unprecedented amount of clinic, office and research space under one roof.

By agreement with DeKalb County, Emory in the past few weeks has closed a one-block length of Ridgewood Drive behind Children's and constructed a new entrance street off Haygood to provide access to the Emory Pediatrics Building.

Emory officials said they are most excited by the way the new building will reshape the experience of care for pediatrics patients and their families. The first floor, dedicated to clinical uses, will contain 31 exam rooms, but they will be configured in pods of four, with separate waiting rooms, creating a more intimate setting despite the size of the new building.

"This new facility will be kids-oriented, friendly, modern, and efficient," said Devn Cornish, MD, chair of pediatrics and president and CEO of the Emory Children's Center, the largest multispeciality pediatric physician group in Georgia. "It will seem more like visiting a private doctor's office and waiting room than a large public clinic."

Navigation through the building to the right location will be assisted by the concierge, who will greet new arrivals in English or Spanish, direct them to the proper desks for paperwork if that is required, and help them find their physician. Subspecialty clinical specialists will include ear, nose, and throat; neurosurgery; cardiac surgery; and genetics.

The second floor will be devoted to research space and office space for pediatrics faculty who currently are scattered in small temporary buildings and other facilities across campus. The third, fourth and fifth floors will be exclusively reserved for laboratory research, while the basement level will house mechanical equipment and supplies for the research laboratories.

"With the completion of this new building, the Department of Pediatrics will be able to move out of overcrowded and antiquated facilities into state-of-the-art teaching, clinical, and research space that will support future cutting-edge development in academic and clinical pediatrics at Emory," said Dr. Cornish.

The building is being financed by major gifts from private donors and by the sale of 2.4 acres of land -- on which the current pediatrics buildings rest -- to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The building has been designed by S/L/A/M Collaborative of Atlanta and the general contractor is the Turner Construction Company. The building will be designed with the same environmentally friendly features that have won LEED certification for several other buildings at Emory, including "heat wheels," the re-use of condensate water for a cooling tower, recycling of construction waste material and the use of rain water for irrigation. As part of the project, Emory will also undertake landscaping improvements along Haygood Drive.

"We are delighted by the extension of the partnership between Emory pediatrics and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta which is represented by our investment in this state-of-the-art building," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory. "James Tally, PhD, the President/CEO of Children's, and the entire leadership have been supportive and helpful. Basic research and clinical advances for sick children can only be enhanced by this new space and the proximity of our institutions."

Last December, Emory and Children's announced that effective in July, they will create a new joint leadership position, combining the Chair of Pediatrics position in Emory School of Medicine with the position of Medical Director at Children’s at Egleston. The new position will also encompass two other pediatric leadership positions at Emory: President and CEO of Emory Children’s Center, and the President of the Emory Egleston Children’s Research Center. The new combined chair/medical director position will report jointly to Dr. Thomas Lawley, Dean of the Emory School of Medicine, and to Dr. Jay Berkelhamer, Children’s Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs. Recruitment will be done jointly by both institutions.

"This new building will be a tangible springboard to greatness for pediatrics at Emory. It will house a superb faculty and staff, clinicians and researchers -- and it will enable us to attract worthy colleagues for them as we continue to grow," said Dr. Lawley. "And as proud and eager as we are for this building to be built, we should remember that it is only a part -- an important part but a part nonetheless -- of a larger shared vision for the delivery and advancement of children's health services."

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