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Hoops Children’s Hospital To welcome first patients

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For The State Journal

The new Hoops Family Children’s Hospital is set to serve its first eight patients June 24.

The young patients’ admission to the hospital will mark completion of its first phase of construction, said Bunny Smith, the hospital’s executive director.

“This is an exciting time for us,” Smith said. “This entire process — from fundraising to planning to construction — has been magical in the ways the community and our physicians and staff have supported and assisted with the project.

“This is more than just a construction project; this is building an environment of caring and healing here at home.”

A private open house to show off the new rooms is scheduled June 17 for hospital staff and donors. A public open house will be scheduled later, said Charles Shumaker, media and community relations manager at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

When complete, the Hoops Hospital will be the only children’s hospital in the Huntington area. It’s been described as “a hospital within a hospital.”

Cabell Huntington created 200 new beds when it recently opened its new North Patient Tower. This freed up existing space on the fifth floor that was gutted and is now being reconstructed for the children’s hospital.

Hospital officials have noted that using existing space for the new children’s hospital not only avoids the cost of constructing a new building but also means the new hospital can use existing laboratories and services that otherwise would have to be duplicated elsewhere.

The new, 71-bed facility is being built in phases. The upcoming opening of the first eight rooms marks the successful completion of the hospital’s first phase.

Fundraising for the new hospital began in 2008 with a goal of $12 million. The campaign reached that goal and then surpassed it. The total contributed or pledged is now nearing $13 million.

The largest single contribution to the project, $3 million, has come from coal industry executive Jeff Hoops, whose family is honored in the project’s name.