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Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital, being built off Interstate 10 between Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard, is about a year away from opening. The $230 million, six-story hospital will have 80 patient beds and the capacity to expand to 130.

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge is on track to open nearly a year from now.

The children’s hospital is “ahead of schedule and on budget," Mike McBride, the president and chief executive officer of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

“Our vision is to be the children’s hospital, providing state-of-the-art health care for all children in Louisiana,” he said. “We can’t support what we are building simply on the kids in Baton Rouge; we have to have a larger base.”

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is the Baton Rouge-based parent company of hospitals and health care services statewide, including St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales and Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa.

The $230 million hospital is under construction off Interstate 10, between Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard. The six-story hospital will have 80 patient beds and the capacity to expand to 130. Our Lady of the Lake has operated a children’s hospital inside its Hennessy Boulevard campus for many years, but McBride said the stand-alone center will have physical facilities that match the quality of care that is offered.

Our Lady of Lourdes is in the process of acquiring the 161-bed Women’s and Children’s Hospital. That deal should be wrapped up by the end of the year. Women’s and Children’s is the third-largest provider of pediatric services in Louisiana; Our Lady of the Lake is second.

Once that deal is completed, Franciscan Missionaries will be the largest pediatric service provider in the state.

“It’s not a case of bigger equals better, but in this case, the scale allows us to keep the kind of specialists we need,” McBride said.

McBride took over as head of Franciscan Missionaries in February. Before that, he had served with CHI St. Luke's Health in Houston as senior vice president and president of suburban hospitals.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.