HELENA — Shodair Children's Hospital received a $1.5 million grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to help with the construction of their new 131,000-foot hospital.
Shodair Children's Hospital has been helping Montana's children for 126 years. It first started as an orphanage, then as a pediatric hospital, and now as a psychiatric and genetics hospital helping children all over Montana.
The hospital, as well as Director of Operations and Security Vance Gehringer, wants to continue to grow in size to be able to help any child that walks through the door.
"Being able to support the children and the communities in Montana. And because we have such a wide variety of children from different cultures and different areas of Montana that we've always needed that space and that ability to keep them safe while still supporting their mental health needs," said Gehringer.
On top of newly renovated rooms and a bigger facility. The new hospital will feature a pool, chapel, smudge room, pharmacy, a full-court gymnasium, and a hope space for patient events.
Shodair will also be tearing down two-thirds of its existing space, leaving the remaining third as is for support and business staff.
"Instead of just throwing a building up and kind of filling that building, we were able to talk to past and present patients at that time, have discussions with them, find out what worked well, what didn't work, how we could fit their needs and how we could be a better support system for them," said Gehringer.
Over the last five years of this project, the Shodair team ran into its share of challenges.
"We had a really wet first year while we were doing this. After that have been products, glass, and some metal products. Our contractors are really good job of preempting the ordering so that we had that time frame to keep the struggle as minimal as possible."
Even through the thick and thin, Craig Aasved, CEO of the children's hospital, and all the Shodair staff are still on track to open the new children's hospital doors on schedule.
"We are actually going to move patients into the new building on January 31. So even though we take possession in December, it gives us a couple more months to do the education of our staff and community," said Aasved.
Currently, the hospital serves up to 74 patients at a time in 40 rooms, with patients in double occupancy rooms sharing bathrooms... The new hospital will feature individual rooms for 82 patients.
"We're very grateful for the support we've received from the community health of Helena, the state of Montana, and then to have grants like this come through just speaks to people's passion for the work that Shodair does," said Aasved.
Shodair continues to raise funds for the $66 million dollar project.