CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A special groundbreaking Friday kicked off work for the future MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital and the Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion.
"There's rare moments in life where you celebrate the moment, this is one of them," Dr. David Cole, President of MUSC, said.
MUSC's youngest patients joined the groundbreaking for the new Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. Electric blue sand and bowed shovels made festivities fit for the kids the hospital serves, like third-grader Gabe who spent five weeks MUSC being treated for an abscess after acute appendicitis.
"It was really difficult because I was there for a really long time," Gabe said, adding the doctors and kid-only floors made the healing process easier.
Gabe's dad, Matthew Johnson, said it's hard to imagine the hospital even better than what they had during Gabe's stay.
"The idea that we're going to get a state-of-the-art facility that's even better that what we already have," Johnson said, "What we had was serious, and quick and acute and out of nowhere. But families that have to be here all the time, it's going to be a world of difference."
MUSC's vision for children's healthcare will take three years to build, according to Dr. Cole. Once complete, the hospital will feature more than 200 rooms with dedicated floors for cancer and pediatric heart care. plus, a revolutionary neonatal unit.
"This hospital will be one of three in the nation that puts the mother right next to the child," Dr. Cole said.
Hashtags of "Imagine what's possible," peppered the groundbreaking. In fact, 26 MUSC families contributed to the new hospital's design.
"The usual is that a hospital is designed by architects," Dr. Cole said. "The 2.0 is that we actually get the care providers voice there. But, the more meaningful is to get the voice of people that you're actually taking care of."
Hospital officials said the new facility will be bigger and better in every way for the young patients it treats across the state.
The project is expected to cost $385 million, according to officials. $201 million has been raised thus far, including $35 million from state funds. $25 million came from the hospital's namesake, Shawn Jenkins, head of Benefit Focus.
Officials anticipate the hospital to open late 2019.