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Ground is Broken to Make Way for New Oishei Children’s Hospital

Updated: 10/10/2014
L to R: Allegra Jaros, vice president, Kaleida Health, president, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo; Carson Dayka, patient, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo; Mayor Byron Brown, City of Buffalo; John Koelmel, chair, Kaleida Health Board of Directors; Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, New York State; Jody Lomeo, president and CEO, Kaleida Health; Peter Augustine, co-chair, capital campaign, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital; Amy Habib Rittling, co-chair, capital campaign, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital; Teresa Quattrin, MD, pediatrician-in-chief, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo; James Wadsworth, chair, John R. Oishei Foundation Board of Directors.

Health care for kids and their mothers took a major leap forward today as Kaleida Health held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Physicians, employees, donors, elected officials, and other dignitaries were on hand to kick off construction on the new $270 million facility. 

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was the keynote speaker of the event, announcing that New York State will provide $35 million for the project, including $15 million from the Buffalo Billion for infrastructure at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and up to $20 million from other state resources to support the new hospital.

“Securing the funding for the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital is a huge win for Buffalo and Western New York,” said Duffy. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership through the Buffalo Billion, the hospital will give communities throughout the region access to specialized health care. I thank all of our state partners and Kaleida Health for making this excellent project a reality."

The Oishei Children’s Hospital will replace the current Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, which is located on Bryant Street.

“On behalf of the nearly 10,000 employees at Kaleida Health, and the tens of thousands of mothers and children that we serve at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, I thank our partners from the State of New York,” said Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health.

Lomeo added, “We thank Governor Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy for their support of this project, for their support of the City of Buffalo, and for their unwavering commitment to Western New York. Governor Cuomo and his team have clearly stated that they believe in us, and they have made our community a focus. They have made the commitment - now it is our opportunity to deliver. And we will deliver a world class children’s hospital to serve generations to come.”

“Today is another historic moment in the rebirth and renaissance of our community,” said John Koelmel, chair of the Kaleida Health Board of Directors. “And while that may, at times, be an overused and exaggerated term – not so today. This is a very exciting – and critically important – time for Buffalo and all of Western New York. We are putting the first shovels in the ground for construction of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. A hospital that will ensure that best-in-class care will be available for mothers and children for generations to come – right here in our community. We are here today because of an incredible and sustained effort from so many. One that has been years in the making. And we have succeeded because this initiative has been physician-led, the beneficiary of unprecedented support from the entire community, an important priority for the Governor and his team in Albany, and an unwavering focus for a Kaleida Health organization that is incredibly committed to delivering on its promise to provide world-class pediatric care for all in our community.”

The historic project will right-size and consolidate services in a 12-floor, 183-bed, free-standing, modern facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It will be an integral part of the campus, linking with Buffalo General Medical Center, the Gates Vascular Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the new University at Buffalo Medical School and more.

Allegra Jaros, president of Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo said, “Today, we secure pediatric health care for all of our children. Today, we secure the best and brightest doctors, the most advanced technology and programs, extensive research, dedicated and compassionate staff, and the utmost attention to patient and family-centered care for our children in Buffalo and Western New York. Most importantly, we reposition ourselves to be recognized as the best comprehensive hospital for children and mothers in the nation.”

The facility will be located on Ellicott Street, bounded by High and Goodrich Streets in the City of Buffalo.

“The building of the Oishei Children’s Hospital is embraced by the entire staff at Women & Children’s Hospital - and the community at large - because it will have a profound impact on all of Western New York,” said Teresa Quattrin, MD, the pediatrician-in-chief at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. “This new facility will ensure that children and their mothers across the region will continue to receive outstanding care. On behalf of all of my physician colleagues, we are indebted to the many constituencies who are helping make this dream a reality.”

Shepley Bulfinch of Boston, MA, one of the country’s top pediatric healthcare architects, was selected to design the physician-led plan. Shepley Bulfinch’s connection to Buffalo dates to 1870, when Henry Hobson Richardson completed the Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital, today the H.H. Richardson Complex. The firm later designed two buildings for the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo.

Jim Scordato, the Western New York Hospital vice president for 1199SEIU said, “After a long campaign in 2002 to save Children’s Hospital, 1199 SEIU and its members - with the help of Kaleida Health, Children’s Hospital physicians and the state legislative delegation - fought hard to secure funding to save the hospital from closure and move forward with the plan to build a new hospital for the children of Western New York. The members of 1199SEIU are proud to be moving forward with a new hospital that will provide the children of our community the best possible care and services in a state-of-the-art facility.”

The capital campaign for the new hospital continues to proceed as well. In fact, nearly $44 million has been raised to date. In addition to this, $2.5 million has been raised to create endowments for some of the hospital’s family support programs including Stones Buddies (for chronically ill children), as well as a neonatal intensive care unit family resources endowment.

“John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will serve our community much like John R. Oishei did. This new facility will function as a marker to commemorate his passion, vision and unending contributions to Western New York,” stated James Wadsworth, Oishei Foundation chairman. The Oishei Foundation committed $10 million to build the new hospital.

Turner Construction Company, an international construction services company and a leading builder in diverse and numerous market segments, is the construction manager for the building of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. Turner is headquartered in New York City with a local Buffalo office. 

“This is a proud day when we can start constructing the new world-class John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital for our city and region’s children and families,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “The start of construction on the Oishei Children’s Hospital adds to the positive momentum that’s underway in Buffalo and continues a great tradition of top pediatric care in the City of Buffalo - an attractive place to live, work and invest.”

Not only will the Oishei Children’s Hospital be the link for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, but the hospital today – and in the future – will be the only link for comprehensive pediatric health care for Western New York. The Oishei Children’s Hospital ensures pediatric and maternal services remain available for patients in the Western New York region.

The vision for the new hospital is to be recognized as the innovator, the highest quality, highest value provider and partner, and the regional referral center for women and children’s health care for Kaleida Health, Western New York and beyond.

“Today highlights the continued growth of Buffalo’s health and life sciences industry,” said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Kaleida Health institutions have served Buffalo residents proudly for decades; this 12-story facility will ensure those services into the future. Relocating the new $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital to a centralized Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a welcome addition. The dollars that the state is providing for gap-funding through the Buffalo Billion is just another example showcasing Governor Cuomo’s commitment to Buffalo and Western New York.”

“This is an exciting day in Western New York as we celebrate the continued growth and development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “The new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will continue a storied legacy dating back over 100 years of providing world-class, life-saving medical care to the children of Western New York. Congratulations to Kaleida Health and to the hospital’s physician-led steering committee on this exciting accomplishment.”

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (and the new Oishei Children’s Hospital) is the only center with the pediatric specialists (physicians, surgeons, respiratory therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, child life, along with trained and compassionate support staff such as aides, housekeepers, dieticians) who can care for all children (0–21) and their families.

It is the only access point for pediatric critical care, Level III neonatal intensive care, and Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Centers in and for Western New York. The sickest babies and children come to the hospital for care, either directly or through transfers from other hospitals. Without the resources available at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, these young patients would have to travel out of area for care.

“Any parent who has had to walk through the doors of Children’s Hospital shares a sense of relief and comfort in the fact that top notch pediatric medical services is available right here in our backyard,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “With this new facility, we bring the same quality of care to a new state-of-the-art facility that can best meet the needs of our littlest patients for generations to come.”

Jerry Mazurkiewiecz, chair of the Women & Children’s Hospital Advisory Council said, "Today marks a significant milestone in the history of health care in Western New York. It marks the date that construction officially begins on a brand new pediatric healthcare facility. It will provide the dedicated physicians and employees of Kaleida Health an opportunity to continue providing the same quality of health care that has been provided at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo for generations to come in keeping with the traditions of the past hundred years. Today's event is a result of the significant amount of time, talent and treasure that has been committed by physicians, staff, administration and volunteers as well as the philanthropy of our community at large. It marks a new beginning for pediatric health care in Western New York."

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will combine cutting-edge healthcare services for women and children with a top notch team of partners committed to providing the best care possible. This project reaffirms and builds on our region’s reputation for excellence in health care, with a focus on providing high-quality care for all children and their families in a setting that provides pediatric specialists and integrated care. Families in Erie County will now have access to the latest in services and care right here in Buffalo at the new Children’s Hospital.”

Construction is expected to take approximately 34 months to complete, with doors opening in 2017.

“Today will always be remembered as the day that Buffalo ensured the future of two institutions that have been an integral part of the fabric of our community,” said Steven Lana, MD, a longtime advocate of the hospital and leading pediatrician in Western New York. “The Pegulas officially assume ownership of the Buffalo Bills - securing the future of the franchise for generations to come - while we celebrate the groundbreaking for a new children's hospital that will help ensure that future generations of women and children will have access to the finest facilities and medical care possible. Everyone can take great pride and rejoice in this tremendous win and historic day for the people of Buffalo and Western New York.”

In August, Kaleida Health began preparation on the site, which is located on Ellicott and High Streets across from the Buffalo General Medical Center. Site preparation includes fencing the site, implementing a traffic plan, removing the asphalt from the parking lot, ordering steel, and releasing the shop drawings for shoring, steel and outer walls.   

Erie County Legislator Peter Savage said, “This is an exciting day for Buffalo and Western New York. The construction of the new Children's Hospital not only offers another dynamic project to Buffalo's rebirth, but this state-of-the-art new facility will dramatically transform the quality of care for children for years to come.”

Rev. Darius Prigeon, who represents the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus for the Common Council said, “The City of Buffalo is so fortunate and so blessed to have the only standalone children’s hospital in New York State. The new Oishei Children’s Hospital will be a beautiful addition to the medical campus, and more importantly, will be the place for pediatric and maternal care in the coming years and for generations to come.”

David Rivera, Niagara District councilmember and representative of the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo neighborhood said, “I applaud Kaleida Health for their commitment to improving health care for the children of Western New York. Today marks another step in the mission for an environment in Buffalo that will provide every opportunity available to care for and improve the health and wellness of our children. The key to creating healthy cities, counties, and regions is to create world-class healthcare facilities that focus on our youngest population, and Kaleida Health is doing exactly that with its construction of the new Oishei Children’s Hospital.”