16:37 PM

Dodson Specialty Clinics Expansion: Swimming Pools and Football Fields and Elephants, Oh My!


Beginning March 2023, we'll begin moving many of our specialty clinics. You can keep up with the latest changes by visiting our Cook Children's Dodson Specialty Clinics page on cookchildrens.org.  Please share this web page with your patient families as it includes the latest information they will need to navigate their appointment.

Dodson Specialties

By Ashley Antle

What has enough concrete to fill eight Olympic-sized swimming pools, duct work that equals the weight of 32 male African elephants and 160-miles of wiring that could circle a football field more than 600 times?

It is the newest addition to the Cook Children’s Medical Center campus, which adds 240,000 square feet and six new services to the existing Dodson Specialty Clinics building. The expansion, opening in March 2023, is designed to make visits to one of the more than 35 specialty clinics housed in what will ultimately be a fully integrated facility easier and more convenient for patients and their families.

“Our specialty clinics are experiencing increasing demand for services from a rapidly growing, diverse population.” said Veronica Tolley, vice president of Primary and Specialty Services at Cook Children's. “The Dodson Specialty Clinics expansion will accommodate this growth, while also allowing clinics to consolidate to one location which is a tremendous satisfier for our patient population.”

Children living with a disability or disease often require ongoing care from one or more specialized physicians, like a neurologist or oncologist, for example. Juggling multiple appointments, medical equipment and other challenges that come with a chronic condition can be difficult. The Dodson expansion places vital and often overlapping specialty services under one roof, connecting the dots of care, collaboration and convenience for physicians and families.

What’s New

Inside While adding space for clinic growth, the expansion also will support the addition of a Peaks Tech Zone, a sibling center, a cafe, a pharmacy, retail space and a maternal/fetal medicine clinic.

A cross between a technology lounge and in-person help desk, Peaks Tech Zone is a place where families can get guided, hands-on experience with devices and online applications recommended for their child’s care. It includes a self-service space and a consultation area for one-on-one assistance from a health technology advocate, or techspert, who will help Tech Zone visitors do everything from setting up their MyCookChildren’s patient portal so they can view their child’s medical chart to syncing their personal technology with medical devices and apps recommended by their child’s physician. Visitors can also learn how to utilize virtual care, telemedicine services and any new Cook Children’s innovation that helps them meet the health needs of their family.

The Sibling Support Center will take a load off of parents and give kids a safe, fun and developmentally appropriate space to spend time during their sibling’s clinic appointment.

“There are many times when parents have to bring siblings to patient appointments, and sometimes the presence of siblings ends up preventing needed clinical care from being able to happen,” said Jill Koss, director of Family Support Services. “This Sibling Support Center will allow parents to focus on their child who is a patient and, even more importantly, will give siblings the opportunity to be the focus of specific programming designed to support their emotional, psychosocial and developmental needs.”

The Sibling Support Center is generously sponsored by Panda Cares through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals charities. It will be located on the first floor of the Dodson expansion and open to patient siblings ages 3 to 12, Monday through Friday, for up to 90 minutes per visit. Programming will include creative arts activities, play supporting growth and development, music, dramatic play, video games for older children and more.   

Dodson ExpansionThe new space also makes way for the Jane and John Justin Institute for MIND (Mental, Intellectual, Neurological, Developmental) Health. Physicians began building the MIND Health Institute’s framework more than five years ago after identifying a missing link within the neurosciences program. There was little coordination among commonly overlapping specialties that treat the mental and physical diseases and disorders associated with the nervous system. The MIND Health Institute brings Cook Children’s Jane and John Justin Neurosciences Center, Cook Children’s Division of Behavioral Health and the Child Study Center under one collaborative roof to provide easily accessible, well-coordinated and comprehensive care for children with disorders affecting the nervous system.

A new 10-level parking garage for physicians and visitors will support the facility and will be easier to navigate. No more driving around and around wondering if a space will be open from one level to the next. Using dynamic signage, an intelligent parking system will alert drivers to the number of spaces available as they approach a level of the garage, making self-parking more efficient and reliable.

“Following substantial completion and certificate of occupancy, many of our clinics who currently reside in our existing Dodson facility will begin moves to the new facility through a managed transition plan beginning in late March and continuing through 2024,” said Kim Arnold, space utilization and transition manager. “Countless thousands of children and their families will enjoy this new facility, the exciting features and benefits designed to serve them. We cannot wait to implement the transition of our clinics and services and open the facility for our patient families.”

What’s Behind the Walls?:

Here are a few fun and interesting facts about the Dodson Specialty Clinics Expansion if you have extra time on your hands and enjoy numbers:

  • 160 miles of wiring installed to date (640 laps around a football field)
  • 20 miles of pipe (80 laps around a football field)
  • Collectively, the air handling units have a max airflow of 260,000 cubic feet per minute and have a cooling capacity roughly equal to that of 2,000 commercial-grade refrigerators.
  • Enclosure consists of:
    • 184 miles of wiring (736 laps around a football field)
    • 335 2-story-tall prefab panels
    • 1,400 pieces of glass-fiber reinforced concrete; 34 miles of pipe; 400,000 pounds of ductwork (32 elephants), and 370 windows equaling 12 football field lengths
    • 8,500 LF of decorative wall stenciling equivalent to 8 laps around a football field
  • In the parking garage, post-tension slabs allow further column spacing so that there are less columns, and thinner slabs for more clear height
  • At completion there will be 150 tons (23 elephants) of post-tension cable