Patients beam up hospital

BY CINDY GARCIA | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Current patients at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital permanently left their mark on the new construction Wednesday afternoon.

Pediatric inpatients and outpatients trickled in and signed a small, lavender I-beam that will be placed in the new building.

The new UI Children’s Hospital began construction in the fall of 2012 and is slated for completion near the end of the summer of 2016. The cost for the project is approximately $292 million. There will be 14 floors, with 12 above and two underground.

Around 12 families attended a quiet one-hour event on the third floor of the current Children's Hospital, and other patients and families had the opportunity to sign the beam throughout the day. Among the participants were Wyatt Struve, 7, and Xela Weber, 6. Each chose a marker and signed their initials.

Other event attendees included Stacy and Craig Schroeder. The couple’s son, Austin Schroeder, who is 15, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.

Austin recently had an unexpected recovery, which allowed him to attend the beam-signing.

He talked about how “great” the new Children’s Hospital will be. Patients will be able to watch football games from the ninth floor of the hospital, courtesy of a birds-eye view.

“They’re able to watch a game up close. They’ll be able to feel a part of it and less likely to feel sick or anything else,” Craig Schroeder said. “They want to be home with family and friends and be healthy and do things that normal kids get to do. That would give them the experience to be able to do that and still actually be here.”

The new hospital will come with additional amenities designed to ease the hospital stays of children, such as a movie theater and playground. A recent addition included a special protective environment specifically for patients with contagious diseases, which was added after the Ebola scare, The Daily Iowan has previously reported.

“It’s going to be wonderful because not only are they going to be able to have better facilities, but they’re going to have better equipment,” Craig Schroeder said. “They’re going to be able to take the next step, the next level of cancer treatment and cancer care in the Midwest and maybe be one of the leading ones in the country.”

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