A hospital is normally a place people want to stay out of, much less flock to. But at Banner Health’s newly completed $356 million Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa on Sunday, about 3,000 people attended an open house featuring tours of the facility, booths showcasing its programs and a celebrity a lot of young girls swooned over — Disney Channel’s Moises Arias.
The 15-year-old actor perhaps best known for his role as Rico on “Hannah Montana,” signed autographs, took pictures with a long line of fans, and jumped on stage and did the “Macarena” dance with a group of visitors.
Friends Kyla Ford and Taite Myers, both 8, and Rabekkah Lambert, 10, all of Mesa, had a slumber party at Myers’ house Saturday in anticipation of coming to the open house so they could be among Arias’ East Valley fans to see him.
The trio said they watch “Hannah Montana” all the time.
|Taite Myers, left, Kyla Ford, center, both 8, and Rabekkah Lambert, 10, all of Mesa, get their highly anticipated autographs from Moises Arias.|
“He’s funny and tells funny jokes,” Myers said of Arias.
“I like his personality,” Lambert said.
Two girls a little closer to Arias’ age — Katelyn Scott and Kenna Bandura, both 11, of Gilbert, said it was “cool” meeting Arias.
“He’s kinda cute,” Kenna said.
Arias, who was born in New York and raised in Atlanta, said he started acting when he was about 10, and his first acting gig was being in a commercial in South Carolina to promote exercise. Arias also has appeared in Pearl Jam and Jonas Brothers music videos.
Cardon Children’s Medical Center, 1400 S. Dobson Road, is scheduled to open Nov. 2.
The new facility, which is the East Valley’s only children’s hospital, replaces the existing children’s hospital inside Banner Desert Medical Center, according to Lindsay Butler Carillo, a Banner Health spokeswoman.
The hospital is priding itself on its state-of-the-art medical equipment and detail in the nature- and neighborhood-themed facility to help make it seem like a less frightening place for its patients, Carillo said.
Cardon will serve patients 18 years old and younger. The lobby resembles a park with trees and a lamp post, and a second-story playroom resembles a treehouse.
The new hospital is expanding to 248 beds from 137 and will have space for an additional 120 beds if necessary.
|The lobby of Banner Health’s Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa is seen during Sunday's open house.|
Cardon Children’s Medical Center also is expanding its neonatal intensive care unit from 65 to 104 beds. Wards focusing on minimal invasive surgery also are a major part of the facility.
Each room at the hospital is private and will serve one patient.
“The hospital is going to be a big benefit to the East Valley,” Carillo said. “It will be the only children’s hospital in the East Valley, and it will be nice to have one in this area.”
Banner Health will host another open house at Cardon Children’s Medical Center from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
That open house will feature tours of the hospital and an appearance by Disney Channel star Emily Osment, 17, who plays Lilly Truscott in “Hannah Montana” and also sings.
After Arias finished dancing, he continued signing autographs and taking pictures with admirers.
With all the girls in line smiling and batting their eyes at him, did he get any dates out of it?
“No,” he said. “They’re all too far away from home.”