Gilbert has no shortage of kids and some experts say the town won't have a shortage of pediatric beds any longer either.
Gilbert's second pediatric ward opens Monday with 22 new beds at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center at Val Vista Drive and Loop 202's Santan Freeway. Banner Gateway Medical Center, which opened in September, provided the town's first pediatric ward.
Gilbert's demographics are moving toward larger households and more children.
But before last year, the town had no pediatric units, meaning families had to travel farther for care.
"With the growth of the community and a lot of young families, there is just a need for general pediatrics," said Deanna Grey, director of Mercy Gilbert's new unit.
A small unit of less than 10 beds at Chandler Regional Medical Center that served pediatric patients will close Monday as Mercy Gilbert's unit opens.
As many as a dozen children will be transferred Monday morning from the Chandler hospital, at Pecos Road and Arizona Avenue, to Mercy Gilbert.
Grey said it's important to have a pediatric unit specialized for children, with an atmosphere including artwork and activities, because it makes them more comfortable while being treated.
"We want kids to be kids," she said. "Even when they're in the hospital."
A grand opening ceremony took place last week, in which Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix blessed the new first-floor unit.
More than 100 town officials and residents gathered for the ribbon-cutting and a glimpse at artwork created by the niece of Bill and Sherry Lund, whose $2.5 million donation funded the new Lund Family Pediatric and Adolescent Unit.
Art and stories by Jillian Lund are displayed on the colorful unit's walls. Children can read stories in framed artwork that are written by Lund of Colorado, whose books are well known in Arizona and feature the Southwest. The most popular of the stories features a coyote named Frank, who is the official mascot of the ward.
"I feel like I'm walking into one of my books," said Jillian Lund, who spent time in Arizona last week painting mascots outside of each hospital room doorway and games along the walls, including a ladybug hunt.
Nurses also will wear Lund's characters on their uniforms.
Sherry Lund, whose voice cracked during Tuesday's opening ceremony, said a pediatric ward was important to the family, because the family funds organizations that support children. Their donation was the largest in Catholic Healthcare West's history.
The unit has a KidsZone, or playroom with movies, toys, books, arts and crafts, and a Chill Room designed for teenagers, who can watch movies, listen to music, play games or use computers there.
A Kids Korner Grocery and Cafe is open around the clock, and allows parents and kids to eat dinner at a table.
Patients also will have free access to Skylight Children's Experience Television, which includes movies and SeaWorld Adventures, as well as games on the Web.