(June 20, 2013)
The James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville officially opened June 20 with officials predicting that it will become a special healing place for the hundreds of thousands of children whose families live east of I-95.
The ribbon cutting on the $48.2 million facility was attended by Gov. Pat McCrory, executives of Vidant, leaders of the Brody School of Medicine and scores of community leaders. It becomes the first and only facility designed and built specifically for children in the 29-county region served by Vidant.
“This children’s hospital serves the entire eastern third of the state,” said Dr. Ronald Perkin, co-medical director of Maynard Children’s Hospital and chair of Brody’s Department of Pediatrics. “This place is more than concrete and steel; it’s a place where miracles happen.”
Brody Medical School dean Paul Cunningham, left, speaks with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who traveled to Greenville to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Cliff Hollis.
Special guests for the occasion were James and Connie Maynard of Raleigh, whose $9 million gift was the largest contribution received during a fundraising campaign. The Maynards made a separate $1.5 million gift to fund an endowed chair in pediatrics at Brody. Maynard is a co-founder of the Golden Corral restaurant chain and CEO of Investors Management Corp.
As the first person to hold the Maynard chair in pediatrics, Perkin led the planning for the hospital since ground was broken almost exactly two years ago.
“The one word I have heard again and again from people after they tour this facility is, ‘Wow,’” said Vidant Medical Center President Steve Lawler.
The 78,000-foot addition to the existing hospital is brightly decorated in colors soothing to children. Officials said a key focus of the design was to provide an environment conducive to patient- and family-centered care.
The facility has 130 inpatient beds, 67 outpatient beds and a special care nursery consisting of 21 beds, each in a private room.
It also has the Kids Immunosuppressed Specialty Unit (KISU), a six-bed unit for children with cancer, blood disorders and other conditions that require treatments which compromise their immune systems.
Eastern North Carolina is a place where children are valued, Perkin said. “We are working to solve our own problems of access to care,” Perkin said. Quoting a recent speech by President Barack Obama, Perkin said that in this region, “We are all parents, and they are all our children.”
“This first-class facility was designed by people who wanted to make the care of children and their families the best it could possibly be,” said Dr. David Hermann, CEO and president of Vidant Health.
Maynard said he and his wife, who both are ECU graduates, were pleased to see this day come. “We both were raised in eastern North Carolina and we love it. Both of us do bleed purple.” The Maynards were accompanied by their children and grandchildren.
The new children’s hospital is so bright and welcoming that “I thought I was at Disneyland,” Gov. McCrory said. He said it was heartwarming “being in an atmosphere of innovation to our children for their healing.”
In addition to Maynard Children’s Hospital, the ECU pediatric outpatient center receives nearly 60,000 patient visits annually.