Plans to build a stand-alone Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital moved forward this week when the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission on Monday approved the 130-bed facility.
Our Lady of the Lake expects to break ground on the hospital in early 2016, and its officials have spent the past couple of years planning the project. The Children’s Hospital currently operates inside the main hospital on Essen Lane, but the new hospital will be its own facility east of Essen Lane and north of Margaret Ann Avenue.
The Children’s Hospital is expected to cost $200 million. In April, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration backed nearly $20 million in capital outlay funds for the project. It’s also expected to draw $100 million from a nonstate bond issue, $50 million from philanthropy and $30 million from the Lake’s Children’s Hospital capital funds. Taxpayer contributions also are supposed to represent 10 percent of the project’s funding.
The Planning Commission quickly approved the hospital’s plans on Monday with no debate or discussion.
Our Lady of the Lake’s Children’s Hospital is the second-largest pediatric care provider in Louisiana. The hospital has more than 60 pediatric specialists, serving about 100,000 patients a year.
Those children come from across the state, Texas and Mississippi. The hospital is one of a handful of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital affiliates in the U.S.
The current Children’s Hospital has attracted many well-known visitors, ranging from actor Chris Pratt to former Miss USA Nia Sanchez.
Our Lady of the Lake has outlined three main goals for the new Children’s Hospital: recruiting more pediatric specialists to improve patient care and research; building a residency program to train the state’s future pediatricians; and benefiting from partnerships such as its relationship with St. Jude.
Our Lady of the Lake also opened a Pediatric Specialty Clinic over the summer in Lafayette.
Now that the Planning Commission has approved the project, it will go to the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council for approval.