The health care construction boom continues in the East Valley as Phoenix Children’s Hospital breaks ground today for a specialty and urgent care center in Mesa.
The $5.2 million facility, expected to open this fall, will house a wide range of pediatric specialists by day and take the heat off overcrowded hospital emergency departments by night with 24-hour pediatric urgent care, the hospital’s first.
“A big portion of the growth in the future is going to be in the East Valley,” said Robert Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “This will be a great resource for the community out there.”
Phoenix Children’s Specialty and Urgent Care — East Valley Center, at Southern Avenue and Higley Road, will be just north of the new Banner Gateway Medical Center, a 167-bed hospital also scheduled to open this fall at Higley Road and U.S. 60.
It’s part of a broad expansion that includes two more centers, in the west and north Valley, and a near-doubling of its main Thomas Road campus.
Children treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital will be able to get follow-up care at the Mesa site, including physical, speech and other therapies, radiology and lab tests.
Though there will be no inpatient beds, the center will offer behavioral health services for children and adolescents, filling part of the gap left when Banner Desert Behavioral Health closed in December.
“We believe there’s a very, very large unmet demand out there,” Meyer said. “We’ve hired three pediatric psychologists and psychiatrists in the last year. It’s pure community need.”
For kids like 5-year-old Max Marangella and his family, the clinic will mean less travel time to see a range of specialists.
The Gilbert kindergartner was born with congenital heart and intestinal problems, and spent his first eight months living at Phoenix Children’s. He’s undergone 24 surgeries and procedures, including openheart surgery, and is looking at another major operation this summer.
“I hope no parent ever needs to know the real need for a children’s hospital,” said Max’s mom, Patricia. “But I would sleep better at night knowing it’s there. Because in a split second, your life could change.”
Max and his family are among the guests of honor at a groundbreaking ceremony today, which also features Mesa twins who underwent back-toback brain surgeries, and a 16-year-old Chandler girl treated for melanoma who now works with local schools to teach sun safety.
Patricia Marangella will show off a healthy boy, who loves to swim and tease his sister and be the center of attention. But it wasn’t always that way, and she credits the doctors and staff at Phoenix Children’s for how far Max has come. “We’ve tried to give back to the institution that we feel has given us our child,” she said. “There are miracles that go on in that building every single day.”
About the hospital
Phoenix Children’s Specialty and Urgent Care, East Valley Center
Southern Avenue and Higley Road, Mesa
• Scheduled completion, fall 2007
• $5.2 million, 30,000 square feet
• Estimated 40 to 50 kids treated daily in urgent care center; 35,000 to 45,000 annually in specialty appointments
• Specialists include audiology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, neurology, orthopedics, psychiatry, urology, speech pathology, radiology