Phase 1: Opening the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower
On May 10, 2018, we held a grand celebration to officially cut the ribbon on Texas Children’s newest building, the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower, which added 19 stories and 640,000 square feet to our Main Campus in the Texas Medical Center.
On May 22, seven specially trained clinical teams safely transported 45 critically ill patients from the pediatric intensive care unit and progressive care unit in West Tower to their spacious new rooms in the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower. The next day, the first operation was performed—a successful craniofacial procedure on a 9-month-old boy. Following the surgery, he went to the hospital’s new neurological intensive care unit—a first-of-its-kind unit dedicated to pediatric patients who need the most specialized neurological care.
The event marked the culmination of several years of strategic planning and hard work and the realization of a vision to serve even more patients with the most complex needs—patients who need the highest level of critical, surgical and cardiac care services.
Phase 2: Moving Texas Children’s Heart Center
On September 25, over the course of about eight hours, six specially trained clinical teams with more than 200 members transported 64 Texas Children’s Heart Center patients—some of them critically ill—safely to their new, state-of-the-art rooms in the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower. The patients ranged in age from 3 days to 22 years.
The following day, on September 26, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the opening of four new catheterization labs, one with an integrated MRI. Dr. Charles E. Mullins, the pioneering Texas Children’s physician and father of modern interventional pediatric cardiology for whom the suite of labs is named, cut the ribbon along with Dr. Henri Justino, director of the Mullins Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories. Just a few minutes later, an 11-year-old from Dallas became the first patient to have a cardiac catheterization procedure in the new space.
On September 27, Associate Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery Dr. Jeff Heinle cut the ribbon to officially open the Heart Center’s new cardiovascular operating rooms and to usher in a new era of cardiac surgery at Texas Children’s. Later that morning, he performed the first cardiac operation—a Fontan procedure—on 4-year-old Rizan in the expansive new space.
Comprising eight floors, the Heart Center is equipped with the most up-to-date, sophisticated equipment used to treat the most complex cardiac anomalies and defects. In addition to the catheterization lab suite and four dedicated cardiovascular operating rooms, there are three cardiovascular ICU floors with 48 private rooms, two cardiac acute care floors with 42 private patient rooms, an outpatient clinic, and dedicated space for families.
On October 1, the new Therapy Gym opened. It is a powerful resource to help children—and their families—learn and focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t. Features include machines for building core strength and balance, exercise bikes, and a bathtub and set of stairs for parents to practice everyday tasks at home with their children.
Early on the morning of November 7, the final piece fell into place when an excited group—including Texas Children’s clinical leadership, executives and members of the Kangaroo Crew and Mission Control teams—gathered on the roof of the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower for the opening of our new helistop. We are grateful to have this resource, which enables transport of critically ill children and women to Texas Children’s Hospital’s Main Campus to receive the highest level of critical care.