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Old October 31st, 2007, 07:04 PM   #1
PDXPaul
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Children's Hospital Expansion

Children's unveils revised plan

By Sanjay Bhatt

Seattle Times staff reporter



A new plan that would lower the height of medical towers Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center wants to build got a cold reception from Laurelhust neighbors, who say the development would still be too massive.

Responding to demands from city officials and the Laurelhurst community, the hospital delivered a revised plan on Tuesday that still envisions four new towers and would still add 1.5 million square feet and 350 beds over the next two decades.

While the revision is only conceptual at this point, it would lower the height of the tallest tower to 160 feet from 240 feet. The hospital drawings indicate that the other towers also would shrink but don't include specific heights.

The Laurelhurst Community Club, which over the years has been at odds with the hospital over noise, parking and other congestion-related issues, objected to the hospital's initial expansion plan, and wasn't impressed with the concept the hospital presented at a meeting Tuesday night.

Before the meeting began, community club President Jeannie Hale said that even scaled back, the towers would be "much higher than any other major institution in a low density, single-family neighborhood."

Traffic concerns

Other neighbors also spoke out against the revision, saying it would make traffic congestion worse.

Gisela Schimmelbusch, a particularly vocal critic, said she wouldn't agree to the revised proposal — or any plan for the hospital to expand in Laurelhurst.

"The site is full," she said, suggesting that rather than expand, the hospital relocate, such as to South Lake Union.

But hospital officials said that would be a waste of money — costing upward of $1.5 billion, not counting the cost of land.

Other neighbors said they haven't had enough time to look over the revised proposal.

The hospital has said that with admissions rising about 3 percent annually, it will run out of space in a few years.

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Single rooms

Children's also wants to provide all patients with their own rooms, which officials say would offer more comfort than double-occupancy rooms and also would reduce the risk of spreading infections.

"There are very credible medical reasons why we don't want to mix patients together," said Dr. Sanford Melzer, the hospital's senior vice president of strategic planning and business development.

Lower towers

Under the revised concept, the lowered towers would be somewhat wider. Instead of 24-bed clusters, the revision would make room for 36 beds per cluster, said Ruth Benfield, Children's vice president of facilities.

The revised plan also reduces the building height of the Hartmann medical clinic across Sand Point Way Northeast to 105 feet from 120 feet, she said, and moves a proposed central utility plant away from the campus' perimeter, where the noise could disturb neighbors.

None of that means much to 3-year-old Angelina Blackstock.

The girl from Boise, Idaho, was bumped from a single-occupancy room to a double since she entered Children's in September for an operation to lengthen her intestines and enable her to digest food.

Patient comfort

Last week nurses moved the second bed out of her room, giving her mom, Nickolet Blackstock, 26, less reason to worry about her daughter being exposed to germs.

And little things like noise from another patient can disturb her daughter's sleep, she said. With a single room, "it's just more comfortable for us."

Seattle Times staff reporter Brian Alexander contributed to this report.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 07:06 PM   #2
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I can understand the arguments against congestion, and sort of against the height. Montlake is a mess, and it's going to get worse with 520 and widening it to 6 lanes. But still, I feel like the hospital should be allowed to expand. I mean the case for making all the rooms single rooms to prevent infection, do you want little kids getting sick and dying because you want to get to UVillage faster? Jeez.

I think the hospital should mail all its former patients and 'friends of the hospital' and get them in on this. Fight the PR war Childrens!

Oh, it's too expensive, but I do think moving the entire hospital to SLU is a fantastic idea, the location is more central and more 'medical', but at 1.5 billion...
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Old November 1st, 2007, 12:27 AM   #3
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Man, what's with neighborhoods in Seattle? One neighborhood wants SR 520, a route of regional (or national) importance, and then one wants a hospital for children gone (exaggeration). They should just get used to it. Seattle is changing, and neighborhoods have to adapt to the changes or move elsewhere.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 01:09 AM   #4
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****!!!! I wanted those 240 footers!!! Damn!!!
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Old November 1st, 2007, 02:02 AM   #5
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I can understand their reasoning, though. Who wants a bunch of disgusting little kids with cancer in their neighborhood!?

</sarcasm>
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 01:06 AM   #6
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LOL!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 01:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgwah View Post
I can understand their reasoning, though. Who wants a bunch of disgusting little kids with cancer in their neighborhood!?

</sarcasm>
Could be a good discipline tool. "Hey kid... you don't want to behave in class, we make you have detention at children's with all the cancer kids."
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 03:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BoulderGrad View Post
Could be a good discipline tool. "Hey kid... you don't want to behave in class, we make you have detention at children's with all the cancer kids."
Okay, I think we're getting too far. Either we all have an insensitive sense of humor or the Laurelhurst neighborhood is just selfish.

I don't see any problem with the expansion. Who doesn't want tall, modern buildings in a neighborhood (that actually helps)? Would they rather have an airport or landfill (exaggerations)?

So what about the traffic? Maybe the hospital could set up a shuttle service or something; maybe have a park & ride system. The point is: Children's Hospital expansion = good, good, good!
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 04:16 AM   #9
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Joke about kids with cancers are not funny at all. I personally know some of people died from it at young ages.

I think Children Hospital should go ahead build taller towers and ignore neighbors. Health comes first than their "view".
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