Since 2003, Cincinnati Children’s has served the mental and behavioral health needs of our community’s children at our College Hill Campus. Earlier today, we cut the ribbon on a new 3-story expansion to that facility, reinforcing our support and commitment to children, teens and families dealing with behavioral or mental health challenges. This expansion was made possible by a gift from the Convalescent Hospital for Children – their second gift to Cincinnati Children’s to support pediatric and adolescent mental health.
College Hill Campus serves nearly 2,100 patients annually. The expansion of the facility was designed to meet the needs of both residential patients and inpatients. The new wing serves a total of 10 inpatients and 30 residential patients at a time. The primary difference between these two patient populations is length of stay – an average of 7 to 8 days for inpatients and an average of 120 days for residential patients.
The updated look and feel in the space is bright, welcoming and aids visitor wayfinding and access. Natural light is the star in the spaces where patients spend most of their time on each unit. Specific attention was paid to the colors – using vibrant shades to stimulate the brain and help produce feelings of calm and comfort for the patients. Every inch of the floor plan was used as efficiently as possible to allow as much patient-dedicated space as possible – there are no duplicated “back-stage” areas.
Safety was at the heart of every decision for this expansion. New visitor lockers help limit the items visitors can take into the patient units – improving safety and security. In patient rooms, we have ‘dual-swing’ doors to prevent any barricade situations and have built-in furniture that helps eliminate some of the patient risk to themselves.
The expansion also features a multi-purpose room which provides an off-unit but secure space that patients will be able to earn the privilege to use. There is also a teaching kitchen that will provide a new element to programming.
The outdoor spaces at College Hill Campus have also received some TLC during this project. New playground equipment for a courtyard playground was purchased with funds raised by Rob’s Kids during last year’s Cincinnati Walks for Kids. This playground space allows kids to get outside and use up their energy in a secure area – simply being kids. This is another space that patients will be able to access as they earn privileges to access less-restricted areas of campus. Rob’s Kids also funded a new bike path that has been added to the campus and a perimeter fence was installed around the larger play yard to provide an increased level of safety. These outdoor features, in addition to two horticulture greenhouse spaces, a small animal building and equine therapy, allow our College Hill patients numerous opportunities to explore outdoors in areas that are designed specifically for their needs and safety.
Many of the details within this building were first piloted in a unit within the existing building. The test renovation unit was finished in September of 2013 and feedback from patients, families and staff who used it informed design decisions in this new wing.
With the completion of this expansion, Cincinnati Children’s College Hill Campus is now the largest pediatric psychiatric treatment center in the country.
In his remarks at the ribbon-cutting this morning, Cincinnati Children’s President and CEO, Michael Fisher, reaffirmed the long-standing commitment Cincinnati Children’s has made to providing mental health services to children in need. This is in line with our mission and it’s the right thing to do. We hope the children and teens who utilize this new space will feel the thought and caring that went into designing it for them.