UK HealthCare unveils new NICU and lobby at Kentucky Children's Hospital

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - UK HealthCare has unveiled its new lobby and neonatal intensive care unit which increases the number of beds significantly from when it first opened.

The lobby, which is named the Makenna Foundation Welcome Center is an upgrade from when the hospital was originally built in 1988, as patients and visitors did not have a central lobby and registration space. The upgrade includes a gift shop, interactive wall and a family theater which will host events and programs for families and patients.

The lobby also features marble-filled kites. There are a total of 52,000 marbles, and most were donated. One family donated 150 marbles to represent each day they spent at the hospital. another family is nearing that total, and they say the staff has been very welcoming during trying times.

"We're currently at 107 days here at the NICU. Throughout our journey, we've continued to hear people say that they feel sorry for us and how hard this must be," Megan Scutchfield, a mother of NICU patients, said, These people have all welcomed us every single day with a smile on their face, with hope in their eyes and with encouraging words even when there were none to find.

The Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a 36,000 sq ft facility which will also house the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. When the NICU facility first opened it only had 17 beds. The new unit has 68 patient rooms including two twin rooms for a total of 70 beds.

Each room has a number of update amenities including a daybed for parents to sit comfortably with children.

Both projects took approximately three years to complete. The cost was about $50 million.

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