|Updated: 6/13/2012 5:41 pm
||Published: 6/13/2012 2:33 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas Children's Hospital opened the doors to a brand new $121 million facility more than four years in the making. The new wing is being paid for with a combination of cash reserves, donations, and bonds.
It's welcome news for patients, like nine-year-old Brett Bell. Brett and his mom, Kristi, have gone to Children's at least twice a year his whole life because Brett was born without any hearing in one ear and hearing loss in the other.
"This is my hearing aid right here,"pointed out Brett, "and this is my cochlear right here."
Brett's next trip to the hospital will be a little different. The new 258,000-square foot South Wing at Children's features - among other things - an atrium, a garden and play area, a "family house" where patients and relatives can relax, eat, and do laundry, and new patient rooms designed with privacy and natural lighting in mind.
"When kids can see outdoor spaces and greenery," said Children's Hospital C.E.O. Dr. Jon Bates, "they actually have shorter lengths of stay and less need for pain medication and fewer complications. Nobody quite understands how that works, but it is a true fact."
It's also a fact that Brett will be back at the hospital, but this time both he and his mom are looking a little bit more forward to it than usual.
"We are just so thrilled that we can come here, and we have this facility right in our back yard," said Kristi Bell.
Patients are scheduled to begin moving into the new wing in early July.