Erlanger’s New Children’s Hospital Will Boost Chattanooga as a Best Place to Live and Work

By Taylor Esler

With new businesses and more jobs, the Chattanooga region's population has grown to over 1 million. This bustling economy demands more housing, entertainment and services. Community assets like healthcare facilities must keep pace with growth to meet community needs.

Planning for this, Erlanger Health System has initiated a multi-phase expansion of Children’s Hospital that will serve as a new benchmark for children’s hospitals around the world. The new campus is designed with children and parents in mind, using design elements meant to reduce anxiety and keep children positively engaged. The Children’s Hospital will add approximately 360,000 square feet of new construction, adding much needed capacity and healthcare services.

Each year, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger cares for more than 6,000 inpatients and newborns, provides emergency treatment and outpatient services for 100,000 and ensures that children throughout the region have access to the highest level of pediatric care. Erlanger treats more than 90 percent of children with cancer in Chattanooga.

“The new Children’s Hospital will allow Erlanger to provide enhanced specialty care to more children and will fill a critical need in the Chattanooga community,” says Bruce Komiske, Erlanger's vice president of new hospital design and construction. “It will set the standard for the kind of care Chattanooga can provide to the tri-state region and beyond.”

The hospital will also attract the best medical talent to Chattanooga and serve as a catalyst in developing a new Wellness and Innovation District along Third Street. In the past two years alone, over 30 new pediatric specialists have joined Erlanger’s staff. Additional jobs and healthcare offerings will bring more people to the area, spurring new residential and retail development to transform downtown Chattanooga.

This transformation is underway at Phase 1 of the project, the Children’s Hospital Outpatient Center. The center will offer everything from pediatric cardiology, gastroenterology and pulmonology to neurology, orthopedics and more. McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. broke ground on the project on June 6, 2017. McCarthy has a strong history with Erlanger, previously completing the expansion of the surgical center and construction of the new patient tower at Erlanger East in 2016.  Currently ahead of schedule and under budget, McCarthy is on track to finish the project by the end of this year.

McCarthy is helping the new Children’s Hospital come to life in more ways than one. The team has helped Erlanger rally support for the project through community outreach like Erlanger’s annual Believe Bash. Last year, McCarthy built a to-scale model of patient rooms, helping Believe Bash attendees visualize the building their donations would fund. The black-tie event drew nearly 1,000 people and raised more than half a million dollars.

“As members of the Chattanooga community, we’re passionate about seeing the project come to life and make a difference,” says Will Gaither, McCarthy Senior Project Manager for the Children’s Hospital Outpatient Center. “Our fundraising efforts are building a critical community resource, so we are happy to do whatever we can.”

“McCarthy has stepped up in so many ways to help us,” Komiske says. “They are engaged in the community and have been a true partner to Erlanger.”

Please join the Chattanooga community in supporting the new Children’s Hospital that will make Chattanooga a premier children’s healthcare provider and boost the region’s stance as a best place to live and work. For more information about the new Children’s Hospital at Erlanger and how you can support the Believe campaign, visit webelieve.build/.