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Rady Children’s Breaks Ground On Billion Dollar, Seven Story Patient Care Tower

500,000 Square Foot Pavilion to House Expanded Emergency Department and Intensive Care Units 

San Diego, Calif. – Aug. 29, 2023 As part of its master plan to reimagine its entire campus over the next decade, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego broke ground today on the largest construction project in its nearly 70-year history: a seven-story, 500,000 square foot Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Services Pavilion. 

Opening its doors in 2027, the structure will house a new emergency department, advanced pediatric, neonatal and cardiac intensive care units, and state of the art operating rooms. It will feature welcoming, child-friendly areas and contain large, single patient rooms with space for caregivers to stay. The Pavilion will also include flexible spaces with the ability to adapt for different purposes at different times as care models change in the future.

Rady Children's Campus Transformation rendering

Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Services Pavilion

“This is a generational transformation,” said Patrick Frias, MD, President & CEO of Rady Children’s. “We not only need to be sized and scaled appropriately to serve our community today, we need to be built for the future to meet the complex needs of families in the decades ahead.”

The new tower, estimated to cost between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, will house 140 intensive care unit beds and four operating rooms and will double the size of the emergency department, from 46 rooms to 86, and expand the space dedicated to providing behavioral health services. 

Interior spaces will feature calm, kid-friendly areas and each level will be themed in distinct regions: High Desert, Low Desert and Coastline with corresponding animals that inhabit those habitats such as sea turtles, jackrabbits, walruses, seahorses, whales and bighorn sheep. Outside spaces will feature a park-like esplanade connecting the campus with pleasing landscaping, open spaces and seating areas for families and staff.

“Having a child in the hospital is a stressful time for families,” said Nicholas Holmes, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Rady Children’s. “From the beginning of this project, we knew how important it would be to provide families and children with comfortable and soothing spaces that didn’t feel like a traditional hospital setting.”

Construction costs will be supported by a $200 million pledge from Ernest and Evelyn Rady made in 2019.

“The Rady family’s unparalleled investment in the health of children has translated into unprecedented advancements in care for young patients,” said Stephen Jennings, Senior Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officer at Rady Children’s. “As we begin construction, we know that the Rady family’s legacy will continue to improve the lives of children, families and communities for generations to come.”

Part of an existing structure built in the 1950s will be demolished to make way for the new Pavilion. 

The seven levels of the structure will each serve a different function:

  • Level 1: Café and Kitchen
  • Level 2: Radiology
  • Level 3: Emergency Department
  • Level 4: CTICU (Cardiothoracic intensive care unit)
  • Level 5: NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit)
  • Level 6: PICU (Pediatric intensive care unit)
  • Level 7: Shell space for future needs
  • Helipad on the roof

“Rady Children’s is a familiar and comforting presence for families in our region, and increasingly, an influential force in pediatric medicine in our country,” said Paul Hering, Chair of the Rady Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees. “Our hope is that this new tower will stand as an enduring testament to our community’s commitment to children’s health, and to ever-brighter tomorrows.”

Ben Metcalf
(619) 822-8593

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is the largest children’s hospital on the West Coast and one of the nation’s top pediatric health care systems. Ranked as one of the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2023, Rady Children’s includes a 511-bed pediatric hospital that serves as the largest provider of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties. With more than 40 locations, Rady Children’s is the only health system in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric health care and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission.