The latest pediatric design solutions for our tiniest patients

The Latest Pediatric Design Solutions For Our Tiniest Patients

Kristie Alexander

June 14, 2023

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Guided by our Whole Child, Every Child philosophy, our pediatric practice is redefining care for children across the country using evidence-based and trauma-informed design strategies to create environments that nurture children's complete wellbeing. These unique projects share a common mission: providing safe, excellent care for our most vulnerable patients and their families.

As the mental health crisis among children and teenagers continues to surge, many of our projects will deliver specialized inpatient and outpatient care through purpose-built mental health units and standalone facilities.

Here’s a more specific update the latest milestones and progress on a few of these ongoing projects:

Dayton Children’s Specialty Care Outpatient Center + Behavioral Health Building

Following up on the Dayton Children’s Hospital Patient Tower, our ongoing work and relationship with Dayton Children’s Hospital continues with two exciting projects: a newly opened specialty care center and a dedicated behavioral health building that just broke ground.  

Dayton Childrens Hospital
Dayton Childrens Hospital 47

The 152,000-square-foot specialty care center on Dayton Children’s main campus responds to the increase in patient complexity by creating collaborative spaces to support multi-disciplinary care teams. By utilizing standardized clinic modules, the design fosters the sharing of exam rooms among pediatric specialties, allowing for flexibility and improved operational efficiencies as patient volumes fluctuate over time. Recognizing the increasing number of patients with mental health issues and medical complexities, the design prioritizes inclusivity and joy. The building provides a playful, light-filled backdrop for care while sensory items are featured in key areas such as exam rooms, diagnostic spaces, blood draw rooms and feature walls. Design and implementation of experiential art including hanging flower sculptures, a multi-level mosaic and donor wall was led by Distinctive Art Source.

With a strong commitment to their community, Dayton Children’s is addressing the mental health crisis with a new behavioral health building. Set to open in spring 2025, the new freestanding facility will allow Dayton Children’s to double the number of behavioral health inpatient beds currently available at the hospital from 24 to 48 and bring behavioral health inpatient, outpatient, and crisis services all within the same building. At the groundbreaking, Dayton Children’s leadership noted more than 7,000 children were treated for a mental health crisis last year.

CHOC Southwest Tower 

The new tower from Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC) recently celebrated its topping out. This new addition to the CHOC campus is a nine-story, 330,000-square-foot outpatient facility that will house five floors of Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI 3) facilities, and four floors of clinics, and research areas.

CHOC Southwest Tower

When completed in 2025, this building will house a comprehensive outpatient imaging center, a dedicated Research Institute floor, oncology infusion services, multiple specialty clinics, and a host of patient and family amenities.

Designed to match CHOC’s Bill Holmes Tower, the Southwest Tower boasts bright colors and a kid-friendly feel. It will include a variety of futuristic technical characteristics, with advanced features that enable better telemedicine opportunities, interactive screens for patients and staff, digital check-in kiosks and wayfinding interior graphics.


  • It is remarkable to see these spaces come to life, authentically embracing the essence of childhood and honoring the resiliency, intelligence, and playfulness of children. Infusing joy, comfort, and unwavering support into each family’s healing journey is our ultimate goal.

    Kristie Alexander National Pediatric Strategist

Connecticut Children’s 

We were honored this spring to join Connecticut Children's team members, patient families and leaders for a superhero-themed groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the launch of the next phase of the health system’s growth and expansion plan, construction of a 190,000 square-foot clinical tower on the front lawn and connected to the existing medical center in Hartford. Completion is scheduled for late 2025.

Connecticut Children's

The clinical tower will include two floors with 50 private neonatal intensive care rooms, a fetal care center with six labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms, as well as two dedicated operating rooms, and an advanced gene therapy unit where bone marrow transplants and liquid radiation treatments can be performed. Each inpatient floor offers an open-air terrace for fresh air and respite and the building is sited to maximize the positive impacts of a ground level courtyard as people arrive and move through the building. It also features expanded kitchen facilities, high tech meeting and conference space to support Connecticut Children's commitment to education and an expanded pharmacy and gift shop. 

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital 

As Oklahoma’s only comprehensive, freestanding children’s hospital, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital (OCH) OU Health (OUH) is the main facility caring for children with mental and behavioral health issues in the state. There are more than 40 pediatric patients a month using an inpatient bed in the hospital who would be better treated in an acute psychiatric facility. 

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital

To meet this crisis, our health and pediatric practices converged to create an empathetic space for children that leaves the old institutional feel of behavioral health facilities in the past. OCH is building a comprehensive acute pediatric Behavioral Health Center with 72 inpatient beds connected to the existing Children’s Hospital set to open in 2026. The patient rooms are private with acuity-adaptable ensuite bathrooms. The design lets kids both be connected to others or create boundaries if needed, as well as balancing safety and calmness. The new center will also house intensive outpatient programming and partial hospitalization care, as well as a shared gymnasium and outdoor activity areas.

Designing through the lenses of neurodiversity was a key goal for the team. Some of the guiding principles included:

  • Design with our hearts to preserve the wonder of childhood for all ages.
  • Celebrate curiosity and learning by building rich environments that recognize a child’s intelligence.
  • Promote inclusivity and accessibility by creating integrated experiences for all ages, abilities and neurodiversity.
  • Help children understand their surroundings by creating spaces that are intuitive and relatable.