The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, which operates our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, expects to open its new $230 million children's hospital next week and transport dozens of patients from the main campus to the new six-story building.

Our Lady of the Lake has been planning the Oct. 5 move and running simulations with volunteer actors to prepare for different scenarios. It even hired a hospital relocation consultant that has worked to move dozens of hospitals across the country.

“We’ve been planning move day on paper for years. Now we’re at the point where we have been doing simulations to make sure our processes work appropriately,” said Dr. Trey Dunbar, president of OLOL Children's Health.

There are about 80 patient beds with potential expansion up to 130 beds if the sixth floor is finished out. The 350,000-square-foot building was constructed in such a way that additional floors can be added if necessary. There is a pediatric emergency room, a surgical unit, a hematology/oncology unit for inpatient and outpatient infusion care and playrooms on each floor.

Acadian Ambulance vehicles will be used for the transport, including some of its critical care units, which are known as intensive care rooms on wheels.

About 50 patients are expected to be transported on the first Saturday in October early in the morning using ambulances to cross Essen Lane, a usually heavily trafficked road during the work week.


Can't see video below? Click here.


“We’ve had a lot of community involvement, families have let us use their children as actors," Dunbar said.

Most of the equipment in the children's hospital is new, from CT scanners to mobile X-ray units. Only a few specialized machines are expected to be brought over from the main hospital campus.

About 500 employees will be working at the children's hospital — roughly 150 of whom are new hires. To prepare, the organization also has simulated an average day at the hospital to polish everything from communication procedures to a potential trauma patient arriving via ambulance or helicopter and even protocol in the case of a death.